Surely a lead crystal tumbler is the ultimate glass to enjoy a decent single malt. No, says master blender Jota Tanaka, of Fuji Japanese Whisky.
Upon meeting Jota Tanaka he is keen to stress why the shape of your glass is important. He radically suggests ditching the old, traditional tumbler and grab a generously proportioned white wine glass. Tanaka-San says the best way to enjoy whisky is in a white wine glass specifically intended for sauvignon blanc.
How to enjoy your whisky
Tanaka-San believes whisk(e)y comes alive when given the chance in a glass that allows it to breathe, open-up and share its complexity. That a white wine glass changes how the aromas come out, ensuring maximum enjoyment.
And he should know. Tanaka-San started his career as a qualified winemaker but for the last twenty years has specialised in whisky making, notably at Four Roses bourbon and now as head of production at Fuji Gotemba Distillery, where he oversees a range of exquisitely made whiskies.
About Fuji Japanese Whisky
This year Fuji distillery celebrates its arrival into the UK market and fifty years since it was established in 1973. As its name suggests, it’s located just 12km from Japan’s iconic mountain 2000 ft above sea level. Auspiciously, the snowmelt water used by the Fuji Distillery takes fifty years to filter down the mountain to the water source, which is a most important ingredient with which to begin whisky making.
Uniquely, Fuji Gotemba Distillery is the only distillery in the world that uses a fusion of whisky making methods. Since its establishment 50 years ago, the distillery has been refining its offering by integrating Kirin’s own brewing technology with world leading production styles.
The distillery is surrounded by lush forests, crystal clear waters, and pure mountain air. Fuji Japanese Whiskies are extremely clean tasting, pure and mellow, and have been nurtured over time in this environment. With its unique climate and terrain, Mt. Fuji provides a natural source of water in the form of snowmelt for the Fuji production. It is the reason why the distillery was built at this location.
One of the main reasons Fuji Japanese Whiskies are distinctively flavourful and complex lies in their blending process. Blending of various whisky components not only complements and enhances but also synergises and evolves the flavours. The diversity of Fuji Japanese Whiskies gives complexity, richness, and multi-layered character, which sets them apart from other whisky brands.
The brand was born out of a dream to create whiskies that fitted the culture and tastes of people living in Japan and enthusiasts around the world who savour unique, premium styles.
Fuji Single Grain Whiskey
A single grain whiskey of 46%ABV with average age of eight years in 100% American white oak barrels. Wonderful golden amber colour with wafts of caramel and toffee, it’s smooth and elegant with undertones of peach and sour plums. RRP £69.96 (Fuji Gotemba Distillery)
Fuji Single Malt Whisky
A single malt whisky with 46% ABV that has an average age of eight-plus years in American white, ex-bourbon, beer-aged and new oak barrels. A rich golden colour that displays white fruit and peach aromas with a creamy rich mouthfeel and a hint of smokiness. A blend of various flavour types of malt whiskies. RRP £79.95 (Fuji Gotemba Distillery)
Fuji Single Blended Whiskey
A blend of malt whisky and three different types of grain whiskies, all from Mt. Fuji Distillery with 43% ABV. Light amber colour, with aromas of ripe tropical fruits and a delicate sweetness. This whisky has been age for 7-9 years in American white oak barrels. RRP £66.95 (Fuji Gotemba Distillery)
Why add water to whisky?
Adding water releases more aromas and enhances the flavours which make it a sensory experience based on the whisky, rather than the alcohol.
Whether you’re a purist or a novice, whisky is often more versatile than most think. Straight up, on the rocks, with a dash of water, mixed in a cocktail or with your meal, it really is worth experimenting – especially if you think you’re not a whisky drinker.