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Chichibu distillery is located in the town of Chichibu, close to the city of Saitama and about 120 kilometres to the northwest of Tokyo. Ichiro Akuto, the distillery’s charismatic founder, started construction planning in 2007, and after completing the distillery, a bottling plant and a warehouse he began distilling in the spring of 2008. The distillery equipment was made in and imported from Scotland, with the exception of the mash tun that was purchased from a local brewery. This particular bottling was distilled in December 2010, matured in a Pedro Ximenez sherry hogshead (cask #2640) and bottled in September 2014 for the Modern Malt Whisky Market 2014 Tokyo.
The nose is fruity with blueberries and oranges being at the forefront, followed by wood spice, liquorice and some faint but decent sherry notes. Adding water brings out softer fruit notes such as strawberries and raisins; later notes of caramel and vanilla appear.
The palate is medium-bodied and quite spicy. Notes of oranges and grapefruits are there first, together with liquorice, nutmeg and a hint of sandalwood. With water there are more fruit notes, especially dark fruits, and some distinct menthol flavours.
The finish is long and warming. The liquorice flavours are back, together with notes of dry sherry and a good portion of wood spice.
A very decent Chichibu that does show the maturation in a PX cask but not overly much so. This was quite easy to drink, especially so because the alcohol, as usual, has been very well integrated. One of my favourite Chichibu bottlings so far – many thanks for the sample, Clint A.!