Two casks of Fukano Whisky have made their way to America and Flask Fine Wines in Los Angeles got one of the two. The other went to K&L and we’ll be chatting about that cask tomorrow. Today though we’re talking about a whisky created by aging rice shochu in new charred oak casks for a couple years, Being an alternative grain whisky that started life as one spirit and end ed up as another it’s about as unique as it comes. An interesting development in the spirits world.
Some variation of shochu has been drank since the 16th century so it’s an alcohol style that has quite a bit of history and tradition behind it, but it’s never aged. Coming from rice, and sometimes other ingredients like potatoes, it’s ready to drink right off the still and that’s how it’s been done for centuries. In whisky terms it’s like drinking new make, but it’s more flavorful than most traditional whisky new make due to the ingredients used. After centuries of being consumed without any barrel maturation some folks decided to give it a try and put this 100% rice distillate into new oak barrels to see what happened, and thus Fukano Whisky was born.
Fukano Whisky Info
Region: Kyushu / Okinawa, Japan
Mashbill: 100% Rice
Cask: New oak
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Bottle: Flask Fine Wines Single Cask
Fukano Whisky Review
Fruit, toffee, vanilla, toasted bread, spice, coconut and a light bit of dark dried fruit. There is a crispness to the nose that’s quite pleasant and is my favorite thing about this whisky. I could sit and sniff it for hours.
Dark sweets, vanilla, fruit, toasted grain, cinnamon, nuts and a touch of wood. The palate is warm, flavorful and reminds me of a combination of a bourbon and a well aged Scottish grain whisky.
Long and full of banana, caramel, coconut, wood and a bit of earth.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Good balance, medium body and a silken texture.
Fukano Whisky is interesting and tasty stuff. Smooth and buttery, nicely balanced and flavorful – there’s no question about why I’m digging this. However, there is a sister cask out there that I like a bit more than this particular one, but when I was tasting them side by side they were quite close, but the K&L cask had just a bit more dimension to it. Though what I found incredibly interesting is that while they had some light differences in the aroma and palate the finishes were exactly the same.
If you have an adventurous palate and you’re into alternative grain whiskeys this rice-based Fukano Whisky might hit the spot for you. It works well as a compliment to your usual bourbon and/or scotch routine and has notes to it that I think Scotch drinkers would appreciate and bourbon drinkers be drawn to. It’s unique and tasty stuff and if you live in Los Angeles it’s going to be popping up in liquor stores and bars fairly soon. Hopefully it does well here and starts making its way across the rest of the country.
*Disclosure: I know the Importer, and was invited to a sneak-preview to try the Fukano Whisky and give my feedback. I liked them, asked if I could write about them and was given a sample for note taking at home. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own and the importer is seeing these scores and notes for the first time in this review.
Fukano Whisky Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 87
- Palate - 87
- Finish - 87
- Balance, Body & Feel - 86
Fukano Whisky is a goos Japanese rice whisky that deserves a taste if you get the chance. Hopefully it makes its way further out of the USA than just SoCal soon.