Since the promising initial releases of Newborn expressions from Ichiro Akuto’s Chichibu distillery we have been impatiently waiting for the first fully matured distillery release. The Newborn expressions were all over the map from bourbon barrels, to heavily peated and even straight mizunara casks. With such a wide variety of whiskies we were curious to see what flavor profile Akuto San would take with his first release.
Chichibu The First~$115
Distilled 2008 Bottled 2011
7400 Bottles at 61.8%ABV
Vatting of 31 Bourbon Barrels
Color: Light yellow, gold
Nose: Buttery sweetness, slightly dusty, a very highland-like malt nose – fresh fruit, apples, light syrup, bright, hints of sarsaparilla spice
Palate: Sweet candies, sugar coated, spices, tight and balled up though, too much alcohol to get a good taste neat. Cardboard dullness on the back end, green skinned fruits – apples, grapes. Some light bitterness.
Finish: Medium, grainy aftertaste.
Nose – opens up more mizunara oily fragrant wood notes, something metallic though, even brighter, apple tart
Mouth – mellows out more, more filled out green fruits with a nice natural sweetness, tons of malty and grain, chewy.
Comments: A great malt that shows that Chichibu has a lot of promise. I was surprised that this was the route that Akuto San decided to go down though as it was fairly tame and middle of the road – not that it is a bad thing. I’m really looking forward to future release, I do hope that the prices don’t spiral out of control though as they are getting expensive and harder to purchase before they sell out. – Chris
Another take: A thin, grassy yellow, the color took to sunlight well. The nose was not what I expected. Heat and chocolate, barely and bread with a dash of iodine and wood. Varied grain-based notes rose to the top of the body. Baked goods with sweet butter, roasted malts, ground grains and spiced apple. An airy, easy-to-enjoy quality permeated the varied starches. Still, at cask strength, an intense, lingering mid-to-dark sugarines settled in to stay. Not what I expected from Ichiro, and this was some enjoyable unpredictability. A touch of water unearthed some sharp floral notes but did not dilute the flavor… adding a little spring to the darker warmth of this one. -Nate