Fenjiu is situated in the postcard-scenic Xinghua village, Fenyang, Shanxi Province
In 1948, three baijiu distilleries were merged into what today is Shanxi Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group. They were Jin Yu Fenjiu (晋裕汾酒), Yi Quan Yong (义泉泳) and De Hou Cheng (德厚成).
The company is popularly referred to as Fenjiu, one of China’s top 10 baijiu.
Fenjiu only produces baijiu of “Qing Xiang” or “Light Aroma”.
Broadly speaking, baijiu is categorised under four principal aromas.
“Rice Aroma” is mellow and lightest. Then comes “Light Aroma”. The most pungent are “Sauce Aroma” and “Strong Aroma”.
Even if you are used to whisky, Cognac and Armagnac, “Sauce” and “Strong” aromas are heavy going. Particularly the first time you try them. To be perfectly honest, even if you have grown to cultivate a taste for baijiu, you may still find “Sauce” and “Strong” baijiu tough going.
Fenjiu only produces “Qing Xiang”.
An old advertisement by Jin Yu Fenjiu in the magazine Republic of China when the country was not yet communist
Another baijiu produced by Jin Yu Fenjiu
Compared to the heavy hitters of “Sauce” and “Strong” baijiu, Fenjiu 20 Years and Fenjiu 30 Years are considerably more elegant. Produced entirely from sorghum, they are 42% and 53% in alcohol respectively.
Unlike Cognac and whisky to which some people add ice or/and water, baijiu is enjoyed on its own. Some Chinese producers have started promoting baijiu as a mixer in cocktails but aficionados savour baijiu on its own. Or during a meal.
Whether on its own or with food, myself enjoy baijiu in a wine glass. Not the miniature glassware favoured throughout China which is near possible for the aroma to open up. Nor do I “kanpai”. Preferring, instead, to savour baijiu slowly.
Fenjiu 20 Years and Fenjiu 30 Years are produced entirely from sorghum
The Fenjiu Distillery is in picture-postcard Xinghua village in Shanxi Province. Ever since the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), poets have visited and been inspired by the scenery including Li Bai, Do Mu and Song Yangqing.
It’s no wonder Xinghua village is known as the “First Village of Poetry and Wine Culture”.
Who knows what will move you after a glass of Fenjiu?
State-owned Shanxi Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation worth RMB 358 billion (dwarfed by industry leader Kweichow Moutai which is worth RMB 3 trillion)
Fenjiu 20 Years Old
Nashi pears, winter melon, a whiff of “sauce aroma”, and spirity. Rich, lifted and firm. Very youthful. 43% alcohol
Fenjiu 30 Years Old
Immediately more complex on the nose and longer on the palate. Floral, winter melon, dried Chinese prunes. In spite of the higher alcohol, because of the greater evolution, the alcohol is much less obvious. Elegant, with a long finish. 53% alcohol