‘Single Blended’ Is a New Japanese Whisky Fashion, and This Distillery Desires You to Attempt It
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In 2021, Japanese whisky fans were pleased to hear the news that a standard for the category had been laid out by the Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association (JSLMA). And now the newest style to get its own definition is called single blended whisky, and it’s all thanks to the efforts of Japanese whisky brand Fuji.
For years, there were little to no regulations about what could be called Japanese whisky. Single malt from Scotland imported to Japan? Sure. Shochu darkened with caramel coloring? Yep. The new regulations from the JSLMA, however, state that Japanese whisky must be made from Japanese ingredients, produced and matured for a minimum of three years in Japan, and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. To be clear, adherence to these rules is voluntary at this point, but many of the major brands like Suntory and Nikka, as well as smaller brands, are either already following them or jumping onboard to label their products appropriately. Which brings us to Fuji Whisky, whose master blender Jota Tanaka was able to convince the JSLMA to recognize single blended whisky as a new style of Japanese whisky.
Single blended whisky refers to a blend that is produced at one site and one distillery, as opposed to a blended scotch that is comprised of whisky from many different distilleries. “This unique expression marks a special moment for Fuji Whisky and our Mt. Fuji Distillery as its release signifies Fuji as the pioneer of single blended Japanese whiskies,” said Tanaka in a statement. “To be recognized by the JSLMA is an honor and I am excited to continue to grow the line of Fuji expressions on a global scale.”
Fuji Japanese Whisky is a blend of three distinct styles that are all made at the distillery—heavy grain “bourbon” style distilled in column still (60 percent corn, 35 percent rye, 5 percent malted barley); medium grain “Canadian style” distilled in a pot still (95 percent corn, 5 percent malted barley); and light grain “Scottish style” distilled in five column stills (95 percent corn, 5 percent malted barley). Each whisky is aged separately in charred American white oak for a minimum of seven years and up to 16 years before being blended together. As you might discern from the mash bills, this is more like a bourbon than a scotch on the palate, with big notes of vanilla, caramel, and dark fruit, along with a little bit of spice. Indeed, this single blend is very different from a single malt.
So far, Fuji seems to be the only brand using the single blended whisky designation, but that will probably change in the coming years. The brand, which entered the U.S. market in 2021, has two other expressions available as well—Fuji Single Grain and Fuji 30-Year-Old Single Grain—and you can find them all for sale now at websites like Wine.com.
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Source: Robb Report