Review: Fuji Gotemba Distillery Blended Whisky Kumpu, 2019 Edition

The latest out of Kirin’s Fuji Gotemba Distillery is the 2019 limited edition of “Kumpu” blended whisky.

Kumpu is a joint release from both Kirin and Tokai’s Sakaya Bic, a name you may recall from this release. The first release of this kind with Fuji Gotemba was back in 2015, and despite Kirin’s troubles with keeping whisky around, they’ve managed to do a release every year since then.

The process has Sakaya Bic select the malt cask(s) that go into the blend. Those are then handed over to Kirin’s chief blender Tanaka-san, who chooses the grain it should go with. Yay for the team effort.

Sakaya Bic has sold out of the Kumpu bottles every year, but frankly I’m not sure how many bottles get released anyway. Some people mention paying 1000-2000 yen for bottles in past years. Looking around in secondary, those are now going for 6000-10000 yen. I paid around 3500 yen for this one, and it’s 500ml. Did I get ripped? Kumpu roughly translates to “aromatic wind,” after all.

Fart jokes aside, the sooner I drink this, the sooner we can answer that question. Let’s get to it.

Review: Fuji Gotemba Distillery Blended Whisky Kumpu 2019

Nose: A hint of spearmint and cloves, then a pile of freshly cut oak

Palate: Sweetness of malted milk balls, brown sugar, and more chocolate candy

Finish: Though it has some nice spiciness at first, I’m soon blasted by plenty of tobacco smoke. Feel like I need a shower.

Score: C+

Price paid: 3540 yen, 40% abv, 500ml

A bit too sweet in the palate for my tastes, and I’m not a cigar smoker, so I could definitely do without the tobacco finish.


  1. Whiskybizness

    Richard, your review always seem to take on such a snarky tone these days.

    We get that it’s not 2009 and when every corner store was selling Yoichi 10 for song. You’re living in the past, man.

    JPY3500 is not a bad price compared with what you’d pay in a lot of countries for a low-end Scotch blend that pales in comparison.

    The big age-statement glory days might be on hiatus, but there is still plenty of good whisky.

    1. Whiskey Richard

      I’m sorry if it seems snarky, perhaps that is a reference to the part about the price? My intention was to highlight that I may have been ripped off given that this same series was significantly cheaper even just last year. I don’t know what the MSRP is for this bottle, but I do know what I paid for it and what I drank. People in other countries may find it to be affordable compared to Scotch or whatever, but just because the bottle is fairly rare even here in Japan, I expect it would cost significantly more. If you are here in Japan, there are plenty better blended/NAS available at even lower prices.

      Personally I don’t think that I am living in the past, in fact virtually all the articles I post here speak to the current state of Japanese whisky and/or its future. None of them whining about how I used to pay only X amount for Yoichi 10.

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