The gemstone underneath Mt. Fuji
Fuji-Gotemba Single Grain
Fuji-Gotemba Distillery, which has Japan's largest distillation plant, was established in 1973 and is belonged to Kirin Group. It is a few of distilleries in Japan which has its own bottling line and cooperage. The main production is the “Fuji Sanroku" series and other blended ranges. The quality is good but not outstanding, a good value of money.
Kirin Group bought Karuizawa in 2007. There was rumors that they would , but Kirin decided to demolish all the distillation still, which means that the hope failed. Some of the remaining reserve by Karuizawa has become the constitutes of Fuji-Gotemba blended whisky. The distillery also produces single malt, mostly served for a base for other blend, with only a small proportion will be bottled on its own. These limited editions are great, such as Fuji-Gotemba 17 year single malt which is available in Hong Kong.
The distillery is located in the town of Shizuoka, Gotemba shi, just at the foothills of Mount Fuji. The location of the distillery is very crucial to the resultant style of the whisky. Surrounded by regular fog, the area is often humid. An altitude of more than 600 meters gives it an average temperature of 11℃, clean air and snow water from Mount Fuji. The whisky is boasted of its use in underflow snow water as ingredients, which lends an extremely soft and clean palate. Of course, it is the best kind of water for making whisky.
Since established in 2007, the World Whiskies Award (WWA) has been the most attentive competition in the global whisky industry. In that year, Takersuru 21 year and Hibiki 30 year won ‘the world's best blended malt whisky’ and ‘the world's best blended whisky’ respectively. Last year, Fuji-Gotemba took ‘the world's best grain whisky’ title in WWA with its 25 year single grain whisky as well. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the distillery and Mount Fuji being awarded the World Cultural Heritage, Fuji-Gotemba initiated the production of 27-year single cask single grain whisky. The amount is limited to one hundred bottles, which precisely defined the classic of single grain Japanese whisky.
Recently I got the opportunity to taste Fuji-Gotemba 25 year single grain. The whisky was matured in small barrels so the time needed was shorterned. My affection in single grain was inspired by Clan Denny. I missed the moment when I drink Invergordon 26 y.o. and the closed Caledonian 45 y.o. in the Macallan Bar, Macau. However, the Fuji-Gotemba 25 y.o. single grain whisky is even better than Clan Denny 26 y.o. and a little bit lighter than the 45 y.o. Caledonian. It displays a clean fnish of syrup and tropical fruits in a subtle tone. A real excellent single grain whisky.
By the way, the Hibiki 21 y.o. secured the title of ‘the world's best blend whisky’ in WWA 2016. But as vintage Japanese whisky becomes a scared resource, Japanese single grain whisky was a much more affordable alternative to look for. Sure this 25 y.o. Fuji-Gotemba is limited edition and certainly command a high price.
富士御殿場蒸餾所成立於 1973 年，屬於Kirin麒麟集團旗下，是日本最大型蒸餾所，而且是小數蒸餾所同時擁有灌瓶生產線和自製酒桶場地。酒廠主要生產是「富士山麓」系列及其他混調威士忌，論品質來說普普通通，不屬於精品，可是價錢大眾化，以量產為基礎。
最近有機會品嚐富士御殿場25年單一穀物，使用較細小體積木桶陳年，所以熟成的時間較短。筆者喜歡單一穀物應該是受Clan Denny影響，在澳門麥卡倫吧喝26年Invergordon和已關閉的Caledonian蒸餾所45年出品，每次喝過不亦樂乎。富士御殿場這瓶25年單一穀物威士忌，比Clan Denny 26年還好，比45年酒身較輕盈和淡定，後段是清香糖漿和熱帶水果，沒刻意地討好味覺，確是一瓶很優質的單一穀物威士忌。