Kirin Fuji Single Blended is a Japanese whisky made by the Kirin Fuji Gotemba distillery. Positioned at an elevation of 620 metres, this distillery is nestled in the town of Gotemba, at the base of Mount Fuji. Kirin Fuji is made utilising 100% single malt and single grain sourced exclusively from the distillery (so this is a genuine Japanese whisky). The single malts, distilled using pot stills, and the single grains, distilled using Doubler, Batch Kettle, and Column stills, are subsequently aged in American oak casks. Single blends, a rare category encompassing blends that exclusively feature malt and grain derived from a singular distillery, are a unique find in the world of whiskies. Consequently, it is worth exploring this Fuji Single Blended Japanese Whisky.Read more
In 2015, Nikka declared that due to the depletion of their aged stocks, the renowned Nikka’s peated single malt aged versions, namely the Yoichi 10, 12, 15, and 20-year-old, would no longer be available. They were then substituted with a non-age statement version referred to as simply ‘Yoichi single malt’ (we reviewed it here). However, Nikka made an announcement last year that the Yoichi 10-year-old would be making a comeback. It was scheduled to be released at the distillery in July 2022, and globally in Japan in November. As a result, we can now try out the new Yoichi 10-year-old 2022 and compare it with the 12-year-old, which was last bottled in 2015. Unfortunately, I do not possess the old 10 to make a more in-depth comparison.Read more
Another Chichibu on More Drams. I know, life is hard, poor me, having to try these very hyped Japanese whiskies. Anyway. We’re back to Ichiro Akuto’s distillery, this time with a 9-year-old bourbon-matured Chichibu. As you know, Chichibu is a Japanese whisky distillery that was founded in 2008 by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of the Hanyu distillery. The distillery has gained a reputation for producing high-quality whiskies using traditional Japanese production methods, and for aging its whiskies for shorter periods of time than is typical in the industry. This has led to a high level of interest and hype around Chichibu and its whiskies, as whisky enthusiasts appreciate the unique flavours and aromas that Chichibu’s whiskies offer. Additionally, the limited production of Chichibu’s whiskies has made them highly sought after, which has only added to the hype around the distillery. So today, thanks to my friend Benjamin who this year again provided me with a great advent calendar, we’re trying another Chichibu, distilled in 2011.Read more
If you remember, last year’s advent calendar opening dram was the 2018 edition of Chichibu The Peated. This year we find another Chichibu The Peated, but an earlier edition, and this time behind the second window. We already reviewed a couple of Chichibus here so I won’t get into the distillery history again, but jump directly to the Chichibu 2011 The Peated (2015) review.Read more
In 1987, Suntory’s Master Blender Keizo Saji decided to develop a blended whisky to reflect the sophistication of Suntory’s techniques. Suntory says that their Chief Blender, Koichi Inatomi, sampled and tasted aged malt whiskies from one million casks at Suntory. Maybe not just to make Hibiki, as 1 million casks sampled would mean 91 samples a day for 30 years… Anyway, in the end, Saji and Inatomi found the flavour they wanted by blending thirty distinctive malt and grain whiskies from Suntory distilleries, Yamazaki and Hakushu for the malt, and Chita for the grain. The first Hibiki, Hibiki 17-year-old was released in 1989 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Suntory whisky. The 21-year-old would follow in 1994. Whatever the expression from the range, they are always presented in the brand’s trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons. So let’s try those two initial expressions from the range, Suntory Hibiki 17 and 21-year-old.Read more
Yamazaki Distillery is where it all began for whisky in Japan. I’ve written before about Masataka Taketsuru, who went to Scotland to study how whisky was made, then would help Shinjiro Torii create in 1923 the first whisky distillery in Japan: Yamazaki. Located near Kyoto, the distillery sits in a quiet place, surrounded by nature and greenery, and with excellent quality water, required to make whisky. Whilst it was founded in 1923, Yamazaki was released as a single malt only in 1984. Though I couldn’t book a tour (already full) when I went there, back in 2018, I could, however, visit the museum, which is free, and features more than 7.000 bottles in its whisky library. I’ll show you around, and then we’ll review the Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, the 12-year-old and the 18-year-old.Read more
This bottle of Yoichi 1988 is the first ever expensive whisky I ever bought. Well, I say bought, but in fact it was a gift from my girlfriend at the time, and wife now. Back in 2008, the World Whisky Awards had designated a single cask of Yoichi 1987 the best whisky in the world. So the next year, when Yoichi released its 1988 vintage, I was curious to buy one, as it was probably as good as the previous which was the best in the world, right? At the time, I had a starting interest in whisky, I had maybe half a dozen bottles, which was quite a lot compared to my friends who only drank things like Jack Daniels. But when the bottle was available at La Maison Du Whisky, it was sold for 220€ which was quite a lot for me at the time. Back in 2010, I was buying 50€ bottles, I was really not ready to put that price in a whisky. But some time later, during a nice weekend in Andorra, I discovered a fantastic off-licence in Andorra-la-Vella, that had it in stock for just 150€. Quite a price cut compared to LMDW!Read more
We’re back to Japan for another Chichibu tonight, we’re racking up hundreds of miles of travel from one country to another with this Advent Calendar! Not sure our CO2 emissions are very high, though, since all this travel has been purely virtual and in my Glencairn glasses! Anyway. Though Chichibu is a very young distillery, its owner Ichiro Akuto comes from a very long tradition of alcohol making, since the family produced sake then shochu since 1625 in Chichibu. The family founded Hanyu distillery in the 1980s, bringing water from Chichibu by truck, before the whisky market collapsed and Hanyu closed down in 2000. Then as I said in my Chichibu The Peated review, Ichiro Akuto founded Chichibu in 2007, and tonight we’re trying a Chichibu On The Way bottled in 2019.Read more
We’re the first of December! While December means cold, wet or snowy weather depending on where you live, it also has more festive connotations with Christmas or other end-of-year festive events, and for many people from the 1st to the 24th of December: advent calendars! As the few years before, I’m doing a whisky advent calendar. This year again I couldn’t get a Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar (I reviewed one with Ainulindale in 2019) or another one from Drinks by the Dram, but Benjamin, a member of a French Whisky Discord server I’m a member of, and who spends probably way more than me on whisky, offered to do for a few of us our very own ultra limited whisky advent calendar. Five of us members ordered him one, gladly paid 300€ for 25 samples (yep, we have an extra one for Christmas!), and all we know is that the bottles used for the samples go from 150€ to 800€ a bottle… All the samples are just labelled with a number, and each day Benjamin gives us a hint or two in order for us to guess what it is. But first, where do advent calendars come from?Read more
Most drinks fans are familiar with Kirin, whether through their Kirin Ichiban Shibori beer (Kirin Ichiban outside Japan) or through Four Roses Bourbon, which they own.
But outside Japan, not many know that Kirin is the number 3 whisky producer in Japan, behind Suntory and Nikka.
In November 1973, the Fuji Gotemba distillery began production. It was built by Kirin-Seagram, a joint venture established in August 1972 between Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. (Japan) [50%], JE Seagram and Sons [45%] and Chivas Brothers [5%].Read more