Nose: Lush and purely outstanding with rich sweetness. The platform is rich sweet bourbon with all the elements: gorgeous vanilla oak, creamed corn, custard tart, and maple syrup. Sweet sensations continue from here on with toffee, eggnog, and plain pikelets followed by more natural sweetness in the form of rich banana, papaya, chopped orange rind, prunes, and Japanese pear. This grain whisky is clean-cut, elegant and sophisticated with surface floral notes. Well made and certainly nothing industrial about this gem. Water creates an assortment of lush woody elements with subtle raspberry and wanted oils (literally only a few drops needed if any at all).
Taste: Gorgeous oak injection with nutmeg and subtle cinnamon. Not as overly sweet on the palate compared to the seductive nose. Nevertheless there is an abundance of toffee, bourbon, creamed corn, prunes, maple syrup, Japanese pear, and raspberry. Mouth coating whisky with a balance of sweetness and spice: white pepper and barley sugar. Water although not really needed (experimentation purposes) makes the grain velvety and ever so syrupy with hints of spiced honey.
Finish: Moderate to long with cinnamon pears and mellow maple syrup sprinkled with mellow white pepper. It is a tad dry and tingling but in the very best of ways.
Comment: This single grain whisky is distilled in pot stills opposed to the more conventional method of grain distillate in continuous stills. I don’t often rave about a whisky unless it truly deserves it - this is a whisky that has pushed all the right buttons on a personal level. It may work for some and not for others, but if you want to break away from the norm try it - I highly recommend it. To date it is one of the best Japanese grain whiskies I’ve had in the price category. Unfortunately the Fuji Gotemba 15yo single grain is only available at the distillery - it is a distillery bottling that can only be purchased directly. Plead and beg anyone you know going to Fuji-san to swing by the distillery, which is at the foot of the mountain, and secure you a bottle.