Text: Mamoru Tsuchiya, with tasting notes provided by tasters where noted
Photos: Ayumi Fujita (bottles)
Translation: Whiskey Richard
This article originally appeared in Japanese in Whisky Galore Vol.21 / August 2020.
Riku is a World Blended whisky from Kirin, released in May 2020. It is made primarily of grain from the Fuji Gotemba Distillery, and is supposedly enjoyable regardless of how you choose to drink it.
World Blended / 50% abv / 500ml / Under 3000 yen / Kirin Beer
Flavor: Yellow peach, bitter orange. Stout like chocolate-covered gummies. Processed cheese afterward. The shock when you find out a different character is actually the criminal.
Overall: Plenty of variety and versatility. Can add flowers to all kinds of scenes. Change up the way you drink it, or what you drink it with, for more fun.
Flavor: Lightly fruity, calm grain, and each ingredient comes at you slowly. Should be great for a summer highball.
Overall: Could easily be mistaken for a lighter Bourbon in a blind tasting. Not in my strike zone, but a good showing with a grain-first swing.
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Mamoru Tsuchiya is Japan’s foremost whisky critic. He is the Representative Director of the Japan Whisky Research Centre, and was named one of the “World’s Best Five Whisky Writers” by Highland Distillers in 1998. He served as the whisky historian for NHK’s Massan and he has published several books such as The Complete Guide to Single Malt Whisky, Taketsuru’s Life and Whisky, and The Literacy of Whisky. He is the editor of the bimonthly Whisky Galore, Japan’s only print whisky magazine.