CHICHIBU 2012 Bourbon Barrel French Connections 62,4%

Single Malt Whisky, Japan / Honshu - Saitama, 70cl, Ref: 57977

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With construction beginning in April 2018, the second distillery founded by Ichiro Akuto, named simply Chichibu #2, is located just a stone’s throw away from the “old” distillery Chichibu #1, founded in 2008. As a life-size test, on 9 July 2019, the 10,000-litre wash still and 6,500-litre spirit still produced their first new make spirit. Distilled on 28 December 2012, this version is the very definition of an unpeated Chichibu. Here, there is nothing superfluous, only the intrinsic qualities of a spirit that is both easily accessible and yet very complex. Built using the same framework, every step of the tasting first pays vibrant homage to malted barley, before moving on to conquer fruity, herbaceous, spicy and floral lands.

Profile: the fresh and precise first nose is malty, herbaceous (sage, verbena) and fruity (lemon, pear). Allowed to breathe, it becomes more creamy and milky (coconut). Next, exotic fruits (pineapple) and bitter orange appear alongside tiger balm. The aromatic palette is punctuated by superb notes of chocolate. The unctuous attack is fruity (apple, pear), creamy and vanilla. On the mid-palate, barley takes the upper hand on the flavour palette. Gradually, it is covered in spices (cinnamon) and aromatic plants (sorrel, bay leaf). The start of the finish is like biting into black and white grapes. Floral (iris), it gradually becomes increasingly powdery (curry). Exotic (banana, pineapple), the very end of the palate is rich and tangy.

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Tasting note

  • Appearance : deep golden yellow.
  • Nose : refined, precise. Closely linked to one other, enchanting aromas of malted barley, sage, verbena, ripe pear and lemon bring lots of elegance and freshness to the first nose. Allowed to breathe, it becomes more creamy, and then milky (coconut, fromage blanc). After this, exotic fruits (kaffir lime, pineapple), bitter orange and mandarin appear alongside tiger balm, a refined liquorice and pine resin. Finally, the aromatic palette is punctuated by incredibly refined chocolate and empyreumatic (cedar) notes.
  • Palate : rich, unctuous. Preferring ripe fruit (Mirabelle plum, pear, apple), the attack is also creamy and vanilla. Then, on the mid-palate, malted barley takes up its summer quarters. It brings with it sweet spices (ginger, cinnamon), very refreshing chlorophyll flavours and new aromatic plants (sorrel, bay leaf, lime blossom). With time, praline and coffee mocha bring lots of consistency to the end of the palate.
  • Overall : long, juicy. The start of the finish is like biting into whole black and white grapes. Also very floral (iris, lily), it lingers on notes of curry, liquorice stick and dried walnut. At the very end of the palate, ripe banana and pineapple add an exotic and tangy touch to the rich character of the flavour palette. The retro-nasal olfaction is covered in a fine film of caramel and fresh mint that rival the intensity of a flood of malted barley. The empty glass is softly spicy (ginger), abundantly fruity (Golden Delicious apple) and wonderfully honeyed (acacia).
The brand
lazyload

The brand

Created in 2008, Chichibu Japanese single malt whisky is already well-known to Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and to whisky connoisseurs generally. Entirely produced at the distillery and soon, for some expressions, with local barley and peat, and even Japanese oak casks, Chichibu is on its way to becoming the first 100% Japanese whisky, thanks to the efforts of its creator, Ichiro Akuto. Fermented in vats made of mizunara (a variety of Japanese oak that is very highly regarded for whisky) and distilled in small stills, the resulting liquid presents a surprising maturity and complexity, even when it is very young. A beautifully crafted whisky.

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The distillery

Founded in 2007 by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of the Hanyu distillery, Chichibu has been active since February 2008. Consisting of two stills made to order in Scotland by Forsyth’s, this distillery has a very exclusive following, it is not only the first Japanese single malt distillery since Hakushu, but also the smallest. In 2008 Ichiro started selling a range of very young whiskies called ‘Newborn’, before launching his first ‘real’ whisky, a three-year-old at cask strength, at Whisky Live Paris 2011. The distillery also houses the last stocks of Karuizawa, Kawasaki and Hanyu, and has its own bottling facility.

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