I have actually had this bottle for some time – enjoying its contents without posting any notes or impressions. A result of one part laziness and infinite parts procrastination. Since Chichibu is a very new distillery, only producing whisky since 2008, all releases are extremely young. See my review of the Newborn Heavily Peated here.
Although Chichibu is a new distillery, its founder Ichiro Akuto is by no means new to whisky making. He formerly produced his whisky at the Hanyu distillery which is now closed. It was at Hanyu that Ichiro produced his well known card series. Much more in-depth information on Hanyu, Chichibu and Ichiro Akuta can be found at Nonjatta – the authority in all things related to Japanese whisky.
Distilled: April – May 2008
1st Cask In (Bourbon): May – June 2008
2nd Cask In (New American Oak): June 2009
Bottled: June 2009
Cask #: 445
Bottle 337 of 359
No artificial coloring
Color – Dark amber and orange. Really? No artificial coloring?
Nose – Wow! Definite new make youthfulness, but at the same time deep caramel, toffee, dates, dark fruit jam, sandal wood is very pronounced, some black tea in the back.
Palate – wicked alcohol singe up front (ouch!), sweet almost syrupy, heavy wood influence, cinnamon, dried dates, neat is it really hard to get through all of the alcohol.
Finish – The alcohol just dominates, dry, oak, a little bitterness
Nose – Much better…a buttery toffee comes through, tames the alcohol nicely but doesn’t rid itself of its youthfulness, the dark fruit jam is still there as well as the sandal wood. It just seems better integrated now.
Palate – Again, much more pleasant, the water successfully tames the alcohol and you can actually get through and taste more of the whisky, taste more of the cinnamon maybe even some nutmeg, sweet with a lot of oak, some of the bourbon flavors start to come through as well: leather and tobacco, some orange.
Finish – oak, still a little bitter, bourbon
This one is definitely a challenge. It is feisty and does fight back; the punk music of whisky as compared to the classical overtures of Highland Park. Not one that I would pick up to sit back and relax with. It is fairly sweet so it seems like an after dinner dram. I am simply amazed by how much flavor has been packed into this malt given its limited time in the casks. I am almost afraid to taste what would come out if it sat in the same casks for a couple more years. I like this one, but have to be in the mood for it.