Monday, February 22, 2016
Fukano Japanese Rice Whiskey
Fukano is a Japanese whiskey made from 100% malted rice. The Fukano Distillery, down south in Kumamoto, Japan, makes shochu, an unaged rice spirit. This stuff is essentially a high proof shochu that has been barrel aged. Los Angeles based whiskey distributor Chris Uhde found this whiskey and brought it to us (it hasn't even been released in Japan). The whiskey is distilled once in a pot still and aged in new oak then bottled at cask strength, though the abv is still rather low since it comes off the still at only about 45%.
There eight single casks of this whiskey that are going to various retailers, including K&L and Flask Fine Wines in Studio City. The following review is from a sample of the K&L cask that Chris gave me.
Fukano Whisky, Cask #282, 40.7% abv ($80)
The nose is really bourbony with a hint of lemon. The palate follows suit. It's got light bourbon notes with just a touch of lemon then some grassy cereal notes and some light spice. The finish is similar to what you would find in a light er bourbon or maybe even a Canadian Whiskey.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but I was surprised how similar it is in character to a bourbon or Canadian Whiskey, especially given that it is 100% rice. It's definitely worth tasting, especially for folks who like a lighter spirit.