While some well-established Japanese distilleries have already warned worldwide whisky enthusiasts they were starting to run low on stocks, Monde Shuzo Distillery, in partnership with the European distributor Les Whiskies du monde, has officially launched a brand new expression : Fujikai, a 10-year-old single malt produced at the foot of the world-famous Mount Fuji.
Limited to 8088 bottles, this expression is matured in ex bourbon barrels for 10 years, and pays tribute to its home-country with references to Mount Fuji and the former prefecture of Yamanashi, once named Kai. Monde Shuzo themselves remain established within the Ji-Whisky scene, which itself refers to thee local craft distilling scene in Japan and is often used to describe micro-distilleries that are family owned and use traditional methods. It’s surprising then that this expression has made it across to the UK, as most of these spirit-producing facilities often save their expressions for the local market only.
The Monde Shuzo Distillery itself was founded back in 1952 and located in Fuefuki. They are also celebrated as a wine operator with a production capacity of 20,000 bottles of wine per day. Whisky production is therefore part of a wider diversification strategy developed by the establishment.
So how does this rather limited edition expression from Japan fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Fujikai 10yr – 43%
Ripe oak notes upon the nose, with stoned fruits, such as cherries and plums, bringing a deep, dry nose. Light walnut on the palate, with hints of seasoned wood, soft vanilla and pear. A slight salt nip on the end, with subtle smoke and spices to the lingering finish.
A great dram from Japan here, and really shows the craft that the Japanese whisky industry are famed for. If you enjoy exploring whisky and have that intrigue to give Japanese styles a go, this is worth the wait. One for the cabinet, impress your friends, and one for the winter evenings for sure!
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