There are a few angry individuals who have visited me recently that didn’t get a chance to check out to this place. Nestled under MT Fuji in Shizuoka and being only a sneaky 10 minute drive from Lake Yamanaka, its another ideal spot to get to. Kirin whisky is a proud Mt Fuji product that is bringing people to showcase Japanese whisky and view the stunning region.
Kirin whisky distillery in Gotemba does not come with the marketing fanfare like its rivals Nikka and Suntory. They pride themselves on the ingredients they use and using the location to reap the whisky rewards. There are no English guides but there are translations around the place to aid the understanding for the new whisky followers. Comparing to Suntory Hakushu tour, Kirin feels more like a hurried tour of a manufacturing plant rather than showing the precision and senses overload that happens with Hakushu. It was however really impressive seeing the bottling plant and the machinery involved, something you can’t see at Hakushu.
The highlight is definitely the tastings; you are given the Kirin High ball which is good and a straight Kirin which burns more than receiving a Michael Jackson eating popcorn Meme on your Facebook. I recommend getting the whisky of the world set which includes Irish Bushmills 16 year malt, Scottish Singleton Grain malt 18years, Canadian crown Royal and an American Four Roses. It also means you can try Kirin Sanroku 18 year old single malt. This is a mild tasting single malt to begin with but really impresses on your third taste where the taste becomes more complex and gets as interesting as reading about the monk who they reckon is still alive after 200years. . Having the opportunity the taste the Sanroku single malt alone was worth the trip.
You do need to book in advance, so the next visit to Lake Yamanaka or when you are next in the Shizuoka area give them a call and enjoy some whisky.
Yamanakako is yet to freeze over, its not looking too promising for Ice fishing there this year, but on the plus side to can still go for a ride on the big swan!