Japanese beverage giant Kirin partners Asiaeuro to launch FUJI Whisky, debuting two core and two limited-edition expressions here in Singapore.

Whisky enthusiasts may be familiar with Kirin’s Fuji-Sanroku domestic range of blended Japanese whiskies, some of which can be found affordably in konbini convenience stores all over Japan. The bad news is that those remain dedicated to the domestic Japanese market, so you still won’t be finding them officially here in Singapore (and definitely not at those wallet-friendly prices).

The good news? Three years ago Kirin unveiled its new flagship whisky brand FUJI, meant for export markets. Even better news? Kirin recently partnered with Singapore-based Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits to officially bring FUJI Whisky into Singapore, making the Lion City the fourth export market to carry the brand after France, the USA, and Australia.

As you probably surmised from its name, the Kirin FUJI whisky range is inspired by Japan’s majestic Mount Fuji as with so many other Japanese products. The debut range sees four FUJI expressions launched in Singapore: the Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI and Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky from its core range, as well as the Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI 30 Years Old and Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky FUJI 2022 Masterpiece from its limited edition range.

The more eagled-eye amongst us may have spotted that the FUJI uses both the whisky and whiskey nomenclature. And what in the world, you may ask, is single blended whisky?

Fuji Gotemba Distillery - stills

It’s not an error. Indeed, what sets Kirin’s Shizuoka-based Gotemba distillery – which produces its FUJI range of whiskies – apart from other whisky producers, Japanese or otherwise, is that it actually makes many different styles of whiskies in a single location. The facility is home to regular pot stills, but also “beer column and double” stills and “kettle and column” stills. This actually allows Gotemba to produce malt whisky, as well as three different grain whiskies – specifically in the American bourbon, Canadian multi-grain, and Scottish single-grain styles.

So yes Gotemba can make a single blended whisky, simply by blending across those vastly different distillates.

The distillery itself is located at the foot of Mount Fuji, enjoying an average temperature of 13°C and a misty humidity that provides an ideal climate for ageing whisky. It taps on Mount Fuji’s snowmelt and rain as its water source – said to be naturally filtered underground for about 50 years – resulting in high-quality water with a clean minerality that helps define the distillery style.

Fuji Gotemba Distillery - exterior

“Authentic Japanese whiskies are in high demand globally due to their smooth, fruity, balanced flavours and scarce production. The Kirin company makes exceptional FUJI whiskies that are delicate and layered with beautiful complexity. We are deeply honoured to be Kirin’s chosen distribution partner to finally introduce FUJI whiskies to consumers in Singapore in 2023”, says Jonathan Chow, Group CEO of Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits.

The Kirin FUJI whisky range is available from are now available from Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits at https://www.asiaeurowines.com.sg/. The Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI, Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky, Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI 30 Years Old, Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky FUJI 2022 Masterpiece retail at S$168, S$158, S$4,800 and S$2,000 respectively.

FUJI Whisky master blender - Jota Tanaka

Official Whisky Maker’s Notes

Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI (700ml, 46% ABV, S$168)

Composition: Heavy Bourbon Type Grain, Medium Canadian Type Grain and Light Scottish Type Grain

Marked as the entry expression of FUJI, the Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI is a blend of three different grain whiskies to achieve a unique blend. Described as delicately fruity, complex yet mellow, the liquid presents scents of white grapes and orange peel on the nose, with a soft palate of honey, bitter chocolate and orange marmalade after each sip. Matured wholly in American white oak barrels, the finish holds a lingering woodiness with a sweet complexity reminiscent of Canadian styled grain whisky.

Since its debut, the Kirin Single Grain Whisky FUJI have earned consecutive Gold Medals at the International Spirits Challenge from 2020 to 2022 – a remarkable stamp of consistent excellence for the distillery’s new flagship.

Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky

Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky (700ml, 43% ABV, S$158)

Composition: Malt Grain, Heavy Bourbon Type Grain, Medium Canadian & Light Scottish Type Grain

A product of Kirin’s quest for originality, the Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky achieved recognition as the first single blended variant to be approved in Japan. Envisioned to embody the distillery’s commitment to whisky making, each bottle resides a harmonious composition of unblended malt and grain whiskies that are made from scratch within the facility.

Primarily blended with a larger ratio of medium and light grains, its interplay of variants offers a multi-layered profile recalling aromas of peach, apricot, and orange liquor. Rich with a silky mouthfeel, drinkers will uncover vivid notes of fruit tart and white flower honey for a well-balanced nuance of fruity and floral, while a sweet and rich afterglow paves a luscious finish that anyone can enjoy.

Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI 30 Years Old (700ml, 46% ABV, S$4,800)

Composition: Medium Canadian Type Grain only

Prized as the pinnacle of FUJI is the Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI 30 Years Old – the distillery’s oldest expression yet, and the pride of the Mt. FUJI Distillery. Flaunting a seductive deep mahogany derived from multiple Canadian style maturates, the liquid immediately arouses with sweet temptations of ripe and dried fruits that open to a black honey laced aroma.

Best enjoyed on its own for flavours to bloom, notes of honey, maple, dark chocolate, and wood intermingle to form a soft, profound and condensed palate. Following each sip, the finish holds a lingering woodiness with a sweet complexity that is reminiscent of Canadian styles yet remarkably different for a sensorial experience worth savouring.

Launched to critical acclaim, the Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI 30 Years Old earned the World’s Best Grain Whisky (World Whisky Award, 2020) and a Trophy – the highest honour possible – at the International Spirits Challenge, 2020. In an industry where it is rare to commercialise grain whiskies which matured over 30 years due to the level of patience involved, productions are limited with a sparing availability of only 120 bottles for sale allocated to the Singaporean market.

Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky FUJI 2022 Masterpiece

Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky FUJI 2022 Masterpiece (700ml, 50% ABV, S$2,000)

Composition: Malt (various types), Heavy Bourbon Type Grain and Medium Canadian Type Grain

The latest release that was exclusive to the Japanese market at launch, the Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky 2022 Masterpiece is the embodiment of Kirin’s singular house style that sets it apart from most distilleries across the globe. Leveraging on its capabilities in producing both malt and grain whiskies, each bottle holds a secret culmination of 30-year-old whiskies and various whiskies aged in red wine and ex-beer barrels.

Precisely blended by Master Blender Jota Tanaka – Master Blender of the Year (Icons of Whisky, 2017) and Whisky Hall of Fame Inductee (2022) – the maple-coloured liquid captivates with an inviting aroma of crème brûlée, yellow peaches and incense wood. Remaining consistent, notes of spicy rye, ripened cherry and faint lychee form a long, pleasant conclusion with moderately woody and ripe fruit notes.

Likewise as its Kirin Single Grain Whiskey FUJI 30 Years Old counterpart, the Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whisky 2022 Masterpiece is only produced in limited quantities with 240 bottles available in Singapore.

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