Established 50 years ago, Fuji Whisky takes a different approach to most other Japanese distilleries, drawing on inspiration from whisky production techniques from all around the world; America, Canada and Scotland. Crafted with quintessential Japanese artistry, the result is a fusion of flavours to create a one-of-a-kind Japanese whisky. Fuji’s whiskies are made exclusively from the malt and grain whiskies of the world-renowned Mt. Fuji Distillery.
Behind Fuji Whisky is its highly acclaimed Master Distiller and Blender, Jota Tanaka who is only the second person to hold the position of Master Blender in Japan. Tanaka has over 30 years’ of experience, in both Japanese and American whisky as well as wine, having guided the creation of whisky at Mt. Fuji Distillery since 2017 as its Master Distiller and Blender.
Last year Tanaka was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame, the fourth Japanese inductee to date. The accolade is given to individuals who have made a ‘lasting contribution to the whisky world’, with praise given to Jota Tanaka for being a pioneer, innovator and driving force behind transforming Japanese whisky.
“We have seen the demand for Japanese whisky skyrocket over the last decade which has driven scarcity and created a rush for people to try it before it was gone. We are so fortunate that we have been building a library of world-class whiskies for decades and are excited to now be sharing that with Australia,” – Jota Tanaka, Fuji Whisky Master Distiller
Jota has been actively involved in the Japanese whisky industry, engaging to protect the integrity and reputation of Japanese whisky both in the domestic and international market by helping set up labelling standards.
“We have seen the demand for Japanese whisky skyrocket over the last decade which has driven scarcity and created a rush for people to try it before it was gone. We are so fortunate that we have been building a library of world-class whiskies for decades and are excited to now be sharing that with Australia,” said Jota Tanaka.
Celebrating 50 years this year, Fuji Distillery’s unique location situated at 2034 feet above sea level nestled at the foot of Japan’s highest mountain, Mt Fuji is what makes its whiskies uniquely Japanese, with the mountain directly influencing the spirit. Taking decades to naturally filter its snowmelt water from the mountain to distillery, the natural purification process results in pure, pristine water that is perfect for distillation. Employed throughout the whisky production process, the water’s influence is integral to the Fuji style.
Fuji Whisky has launched in Australia this year with two expressions, a single grain and single blended Masterpiece available from March in very limited numbers. Fuji is a premium yet accessible Japanese whisky, that showcases delicately fruity and mellow flavours as influenced by the unique climate and terroir. The Single Grain (46%ABV) is a blend of three types of grain whiskey, each distilled using three different methods that reflect flavour profiles similar to Bourbon, Canadian and Scotch Whisky. The ‘single’, in this whisky, is in reference to the source – all three types are distilled on-site at the Fuji Gotemba distillery.
Combined with Japanese craftsmanship, the final Single Grain liquid features the quintessential characteristics of those styles of whisky to create a one-of-a-kind Japanese style whisky – delicately fruity, mellow and with multi-layered profiles. Fuji Single Grain Whiskey retails for $180.
The Masterpiece 2022 (50%ABV) is a single blended whisky with malt and grain whisky from Fuji Distillery. In addition to the historical unblended whiskies that have been aged for over 30 plus years, Fuji has used challenge whiskies that have been aged in red wine and beer barrels to enhance their characteristics. The result is a whisky that is soft on the palate, moderately rich with flavours of peach and apricot and a hint of spice, with a long finish. This is a special, limited-edition whisky that will retail for $1,650.
Jota Tanaka recommends tasting Fuji Whisky with a Riedel Sauvignon Blanc white wine glass to experience its full depth of aromas and flavours.
Fuji Whisky is imported and distributed by Vanguard Luxury Brands, get in touch for any questions or to express interest in tasting with a Vanguard Luxury Brands sales representative on 1300DRINKS. fujiwhisky.com
This article was part of our cover story for the March edition of Australian Bartender. Fuji Master Distiller, Jota Tanaka features on the front cover which is landing in bars now.