Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:
Kirin 20th Anniversary Pure Malt Whisky. 40 per cent alcohol (abv)
Nose: Chopped walnuts mixed in with a tropical fruit salad of pineapple, mango, papaya (paw paw) and pear. Very fresh and clean with some wood varnish, pencil shavings and nutmeg spice adding to the complexity. After about 20 mins, there are notes of vanilla and sweet tobacco.
Palate: Lovely clean malt with a delightful interplay between the walnuts and a coconut oiliness. White pepper and nutmeg. The fruits on the nose are in there but in a more concentrated dried form. Fresh passion fruit.
Finish: White pepper, nutmeg, walnuts, pineapple, papaya, coconut, passion fruit and sweet tobacco. The passion fruit and sweet tobacco flavour hangs on for an age.
General comment: This a highly individual whisky of great complexity. Well done Kirin!
Nonjatta note: This one calls itself a pure malt, which implies it is made from the products of more than one distillery. It is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Fuji-Gotemba distillery, which opened in 1973, which would date this bottling to 1993, when Japanese distillers were sometimes a little casual with their use of whisky terms. It was not unknown for single malts to be called pure malts. The distillery's name is plastered across the top of the label in Japanese but it does, however, say "vatted and bottled" by Kirin distillery on the bottom of the label, which implies it is indeed vatted, which raises the interesting question of where the whisky that was not distilled in Fuji-Gotemba came from. The Japanese companies don't tend to share their malts and they certainly did not do much sharing in the nineties, so it would seem quite likely that some of the whisky may have come from outside Japan. Does anyone know any more about this whisky? It certainly sounds delicious.