Kirin is slated to release two new Japanese whiskies made entirely at their Mt. Fuji Distillery: Kirin Single Malt Japanese Whisky Fuji is to join the standard lineup, and a limited edition Kirin Single Malt Japanese Whisky Fuji 50th Anniversary Edition.
Single Malt Japanese Whisky Fuji will complete the triforce from the Mt. Fuji Distillery, given we’ve already seen Fuji Single Grain and Fuji Single Blended in 2020 and 2022 respectively. To my knowledge, this makes the Mt. Fuji Distillery the only whisky distillery in Japan to offer a single malt whisky, a single grain whisky, and a blend of the two whiskies (“single blended” per Kirin’s lingo) all from the same distillery, all aged and bottled on-site.
Single Malt Whisky Fuji looks to be relatively affordable at 6,600 yen after tax for 700ml at 46% abv. This one drops on May 16 in Japan. The other Fuji releases are pretty widely available so hopefully the single malt will be too.
Single Malt Whisky Fuji 50th Anniversary Edition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the distillery that began operating in 1973 as a joint venture between Kirin, Seagram, and Chivas Brothers. The latter two eventually stepped out leaving Kirin “holding the bag” but given how successful Kirin has been recently it’s likely they regret it.
Per the company’s statement, Kirin Single Malt Fuji 50th Anniversary Edition actually includes some of that original malt whisky distilled in 1973. It also has whiskies from the 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s, making it a celebration of the five decades of the distillery’s operation. This one will be released on May 23, 2023, and will be sold only at the Mt. Fuji Distillery shop plus Kirin’s own online store, DRINX. It comes in at a cask strength 52% abv (estimated), where 21,780 yen gets you 700ml of the stuff. The release totals to 3000 bottles.
To be crystal clear, they haven’t actually said that 1973 malt was matured for fifty years, they simply said that this bottle “contains whisky distilled in 1973.” I doubt we’ll ever know for sure if both are true.
Japan’s craft whisky scene is definitely exciting, but major players like Suntory, Nikka, and Kirin aren’t resting on their laurels either.
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