Fujikai 10 Year Old

Suddenly a new Japanese single malt appeared, Fujikai 10 Year Old. It is produced at the Monde Shuzo distillery, a wine producer at the foot of Mount Fuji (hence the name) which occasionally makes some whisky as well. They also seem to have an Isawa blend, an Isawa 10yo single malt and a vintage 1983.

The packaging and label says “10 ans” among the Japanese blurb, I guess the spirit was bought by the French importer Whiskies du Monde and bottled / labeled in Europe.

Japanese whisky is hot and when some forgotten stock is found, it would be stupid not to develop a proper brand around it. It’s ten years old and matured in ex-bourbon casks, but other than that we can only guess what this really is, when or how this is made and whether there’s more of it. Remember you can blend Japanese whisky with other spirits or even Scotch bulk whisky and still call the end result ‘Japanese whisky’…

In the press release, this is translated as the full production details are held back by the Master Distiller. It’s marketed as an artisanal micro-brand, but that seems hard to believe coming from a winery that produces up to 20.000 bottles of wine per day!



Fujikai 10 Year OldFujikai 10 yo
(43%, OB 2015, 8808 btl., 50 cl.)

Nose: a dusty, musty start, with some wet cardboard, a sports shop (new sneakers, quite overpowering) and diesel-like aromas, as well as a hint of antiseptics. Peated, perhaps? Lots of pine tree aromas, with whiffs of burnt herbs. Hints of mezcal. Acetone. Underneath is some vanilla and something of plum eau-de-vie, even sake (although I’m no expert) and definitely lots of grappa notes.

Mouth: more vague indications of peat. It’s tarry and earthy, quite dry and dusty with a herbal, slightly bitter edge. Even though this may sound muscular, it feels rather lightweight and somehow disconnected / synthetic. Plastics again, a little nail polish. Some rough alcoholic notes. Walnuts. Sweet malt and apples underneath.

Finish: rather short, earthy, with a metallic aftertaste.

As long as it’s Japanese, put it in a bottle and you’ll make money, even though the quality is nowhere near the traditional Japanese distilleries. Tastes more like grappa or mezcal? Never mind. Shops are calling it the next collector’s item, it sold like hotcakes and people are already trying to sell it for twice the price or more. They must be kidding, this is quite awful! Around € 50.

Score: 40/100