Review: Fukano Vault Reserve 1 & 2, 6000, and Jikan
The importers at ImpEx have been on a tear lately; their latest acquisition is four new expressions of Japanese whiskey from Fukano, all of which are being released in very small numbers (with some 1200 to 5500 bottles of each hitting the market globally). All four limited edition expressions are blends of stock between the ages of 3 and 11 years old.
To add a little more context: “Some of the whisky was first matured in casks and then moved over to be kept in different tanks for up to 16 years to rest. After tasting each tank and each cask individually, we have married unique combinations to create these four fabulous Fukano whiskies.”
We tasted all four. Thoughts follow.
Fukano Vault Reserve 1 – Mildly sherried. Fairly approachable, it’s got a slightly meaty nose, and a gently nutty, classically sherried character that comes across as simple, yet enjoyable. The palate is chewy, with walnut notes, some spice, and a modest, somewhat pungent furniture polish character that points to its youth. The finish sees plenty of orange oil, nutmeg, and a reprise of that polish note. 81 proof. B [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Fukano Vault Reserve 2 – Initially quite similar to the above, though clearly a bit bolder, though again keeping nuts and oily citrus at the forefront of both the nose and palate. On the tongue, it’s just a bit sweeter, with a little butterscotch in the mix to liven things up. The finish is where things get more cohesive and interesting, with notes of coconut cream and ample vanilla giving the whisky a clearer bourbon-barrel-based character — all of which works pretty well with the overall composition of the spirit. 80.8 proof. A-
Fukano 6000 – (pictured above) “Fukano 6000 is the future of whisky with retro flavors. The artist WhiskyAnorach has gained a reputation as the personality that links whisky with art and fashion. Her reviews reference classical music and literature. She has crafted whisky themed dresses, multiple prints and other artistic creations inspired by different types of whisky. She is also the first female artist in America to do a Japanese whisky label.” That’s the label. How about the whisky? It’s extremely young stuff, almost vegetal at times and a bit undercooked. Doughy with a burnt citrus that nods at the sherry barrel. The palate is sharp with pepper and a clearer sherry element emerges, quite nutty at times. The finish however is rather simplistic, and a bit underdeveloped. I like others in this lineup much better. 80.8 proof. B-
Fukano Jikan – “This is a limited release to celebrate the rich history of Hitoyoshi, Japan. The blue on the label is the Kuma River. The dark brown is the mountains of the region. The red structure represents the Aoi Aso Shrine, originally founded in 806 with over 1200 years of history. The dragons are said to have been lured to the shrine while drinking water at a nearby pond. Junishi Oda is a local artist based in Hitoyoshi.” This is a more strongly sherry-focused whisky, with a strong brown butter thread running through the nose. The palate is bolder in body, with a fresher orange note and some light spiciness. A gentle chocolate character emerges, with a slight chai note lingering on the finish. A curious whisky. 80.8 proof. B+
each $90 / grcimports.com