Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
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. Ichiro Akuto’s long-term plan is to eventually grow, malt and peat his own barley but at present the barley is imported from England as well as from Germany, and the peat is brought in from Scotland. This expression here was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2012 for La Maison du Whisky with a total turnout of 160 bottles. It is three years old, coming from cask #286, and was matured in a so-called chibidaru, a cask similar to a quarter cask.
The nose is malty and nutty, with the alcohol making itself felt quite strongly. I let it breathe a little bit and after a few minutes a delightful maltiness had developed, accompanied by notes of vanilla and caramel. With water the nose gets gentler but also loses some of its notable punch.
The palate is medium-bodied and pungent due to the high ABV. Vanilla and caramel continue to be present, followed by honey and a distinctly woody note. Interestingly the spiciness does not diminish, even if water is added.
The finish is of medium length, mouth-watering, spicy and dry. Caramel and honey are followed by notes of fudge and marzipan – quite sweet!
Clearly, the maturation in small casks invariably results in good whisky from the Chichibu distillery. Although not as stellar as the bottling I reviewed on 24 February 2013 (cask #291), this still is a very respectable and well done whisky, and quite astonishingly so given that this, too, is only three years old.