Chichibu For Tokyo International Bar Show 2015 French Oak Cask #2360 62.3%abv

P1050314Nose: Cinnamon coated Danish apple pastry, apricot jam, ginger bread, toffee’d oak, pouch tobacco. A salty maritime not like fresh shellfish. After a while a floral note, even more so with water added.
Palate: OK, while there is some big spicy punch on the palate there is zero burn on the way down which speaks of quality distillation. There is the Danish apple pastry, Krispy Kreme original glazed donuts. The spices are a cross between baking spices of cinnamon and nutmeg and some ginger and pepper heat. The peppery spice then mixes in with some salt. Water brings out Maltesers and tangy orange.
Finish: Starts out with the the salt and pepper combo, nutmeg, Maltesers, then leather and pouch tobacco. This finish is loooooong, the pepper and salt bounces back after 5 minutes with a vengeance with just enough toffee/malt to balance. A Yoichi like Chichibu in many ways. Impressive!
Last Word: This is the most complex Chichibu I’ve tried and amazingly so for only 6 years old. My new favorite Chichibu! Recommended!

Rating: 89.5/100

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated 2016 4YO 54.5%abv

P1050289Nose: Antiseptic, diesel, smoked ham hocks, fresh potato skins, stewed apples, currants, soy sauce, soot, apricots. An approachable nose.
Palate: Big hot alcohol hit for ‘only’ 54.5%abv. Paprika and chili’s. Soot, sump oil, toffee, nougat, lemon meringue pie. Water adds. salt, orange sherbet, Brazil nuts, bitter dark chocolate.
Finish: Iodine, soot, antiseptic, nougat and menthol.
Last Word:The palate is a bit unbalanced with the amount of alcoholic heat. Water does quell the fire but you need a fair splash. The nose is really nice and the finish has decent length. Overall it’s still a solid young peated whisky but not as good as the 2015 version.


Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu 2010-2015 Fino Cask #2626 59.2%abv

P1050282Nose: Granny Smith apples, dried pears, maple syrup, malt, dried mixed peel, some wet moss and a small acetone note. Water brings out a zinfandel note plus toffee and white flowers.
Palate: Quite malty, crunchy fresh apples, salt, maple syrup on toasted crumpets and nutmeg. With water we have the zinfandel, chili heat and some nuttiness. Has a nice clean quality to the spirit.
Finish: Grapefruit, fermented pears, nutmeg, pepper, a little dry oak and leather.
Last Word: Has some youthful elements but this is quality distillation and cask selection.

Rating: 87/100

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Chibidaru 2010 -2014 53.5%

BAL_3880.jpgNose: Dried pears, apricots, fresh cut timber, hay, stewed apples, maple syrup and custard apple.
Palate: Stewed apples with currants, custard apples, dried pears, hay, bran, malt, fresh cut timber, Arnott’s savory shape biscuits, maple syrup on toast.
Finish: Custard apples, malt, pears, hay and the savory shapes.
Last Word: Not stellar by any means but the spirit is still of very good quality for the age.

Rating: 84/100

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated 2015 62.5%abv

BAL_3886.jpgNose: Ash, coal fire, earthy peat, lemon infused peat, Werther’s Originals, vinegar, butter menthols, fermented pears, brine, sawdust, pork crackling.
Palate: First thing that strikes me is how smooth this is at 3 years old and 62.5%. I don’t hesitate to say phenomenal. Lots of palate coating licorice, sweet peat, earthy peat, coal, pipe tobacco, leather, lemon merengue, fermented pears, pink grapefruit, butter menthols, lapsang souchong, chewy malt, pork crackling, dark chocolate.
Finish: Lingers on in a beautifully balanced way never too sweet, dry or bitter. You can add coffee with cream to the peat, licorice, dark chocolate, lapsang souchong, tobacco and coal.
Last Word: I’m not a massive peat head by any means but this heavily peated whisky is a total joy. Balanced, smooth, complex and not one of those heavily peated whiskies trying to hide a multitude of sins under a heavily peated bushel. This is an instant classic in my book and I could not envision a 3YO whisky being any better. Bravo Akuto-san!

Rating: 89/100

Chichibu for TIBS/WhiskyLive Tokyo 2013 2009-2013 Bourbon Barrel #422 61.8%abv

Chichibu WL 2013 2Nose: Fermented pears, dried pears, green apples, apple sauce, barley sugar, lemon lozenges, bread dough, sawdust.
Palate: Big and fiery without water but doesn’t scream youth. With a fair hit of water, pear gummy bears, fermented pears, lemon sherbet, sawdust, lemon lozenges, nutmeg, apples sauce, whole meal, bran, corn flakes, cloves.
Finish: Lots of pear and cereal notes, with some pepper, cloves, barley sugar, nutmeg, corn oil.
Last Word: Tried this at TIBS/WhiskyLive Tokyo last year. Too many drams that day to form a strong opinion, so I’m happy to have been able to spend some time with a large sample of this one. I’d have to say that overall, this is a fine Chichibu and the quality belies it’s youth. If this was a Scottish whisky I’d think Glen Moray 12 with balls!

Rating: 86/100

*Thanks to Clint over at Whiskiesrus for the sample. You can read Clint’s review here.

Chichibu On The Way 58.5% abv

d7k_7561Nose: Dried pears, malt, bran, varnish, caramel, popcorn. Quite oaky for one so young. Some leather with water added. A little incense with a lot of water added
Palate: Quite fiery without water. Dried pears, malt, bran, whole meal, salt, popcorn, caramel, oak, mango, cayenne pepper. Even with water this is one hot whisky.
Finish: Without water the overriding impression is peppery heat and some dry oak. Needs a lot of water to find hints of the mizunara influence(incense).
Last Word: One whisky that may have been better suited bottled at a lower abv.

Rating: 80/100

Chichibu Chibidaru 2009-2013 53.5%abv


Nose: Malt, toffee, honey, pollen, tobacco, white pepper.
Palate: Follows the nose quite closely and adds butter, ginger, bran and oak.
Finish Chewy toffee, ginger, nutmeg, bran and some drying tobacco.
Last Word: Not particularly complex but tasty enough and like many Chichibu, belies it’s young age with no residual new make notes that I can discern.

Rating: 83/100

Chichibu Port Pipe 2009-2013 54.5%abv


Nose: Strawberries. White chocolate, light port, zinfandel, young plums, nutmeg, maple syrup a briny element, wood stained oak. Immediately young in nature though.
Palate: Quite of lot of pepper and nutmeg. White plums, zinfandel, white chocolate, light port, maple syrup, a little soapiness to the mouth feel. Again quite youthful.
Finish: Short on white plums, nutmeg and zinfandel.
Last word: The young age shines through in this one. Not in a base spirit kind of way, but a lack of richness/fullness to the flavors.

Rating: 80/100
You can find another impression of this one at Whiskies R US

Ichiro’s Malt – The Playing Card Whisky Series

Whisky enthusiast/writer Ulf Buxrud recently released his web published dedication to all things Ichiro Malt Card Series. ichiros-malt-cards_0 Plenty of stuff that would have been taken from his book about Japanese whisky but as this web based info is free, a handy reference guide indeed. You can view Mr Buxruds site here and if there are any Card Series fanatics out there that spot any errors please contact me, I’ll be sure to pass it on.

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated 2009 3YO 50.5% abv

p1000852Nose: There are signs of youth with some yeast/wort. It is also fairly light. Pork rinds, ash and coal, brine, caramel chews, seared scollops.
Palate: Again fairly mellow for 50.5%. Lots of natural caramel, pepper, pork crackling, ash, diesel, lemon, oregano, some candyness, menthol.
Finish: Pork rinds, caramel, menthol, oak, ash/tar, some hot spices then sweet fizzyness.
Last Word: Ok I was expecting to be blown away the way I was when I first tasted the Chichibu Newborn Heavily Peated. Didn’t quite work out that way as this is a more tempered experience. Still quite amazing for the age, the flavors have become more concentrated after a couple of months open.
Rating: 86/100

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Port Pipe 2009 3YO 61%

ichiros-malt-port-pipe-20009-3yo-61Nose: Thick manuka honey, sap/resin, euchalyptus cough drops, brown sugar, steamed spinach, mixed herbs, caramel, magnolias, white peaches, zinfandel, caramel chews. Water enhances the resin and herbs.
Palate: Wow! Very fruity. White plums, white peaches, brown sugar, blueberry bubblegum, mizunara oak, manuka honey, zinfandel. Water brings out sweet spices and florals.
Finish: Honey, white peaches, zinfandel, white plums, resin/sap, fresh tanned leather. Water lengthens the finish.
Last Word: 3 years old, has to be a misprint! How much longer could this stuff spend in such active casks? My favorite Chichibu so far. A winner!
Rating: 88/100.

Chichibu Newborn Heavily Peated. # 452. 61.4%abv


Nose: Citric peat, diesel, chargilled steak. Water adds some floral notes.

Palate: Chargrilled sirloin marinated in Old No.7 sauce with chargrilled eggplant and chargrilled capsicum on the side. Eucalyptus tree regrowth after a bush fire. Camphor, Kippers. Peppery spice, cigar smoke. With water becomes more citric/lemon and chocolatey. Perfectly drinkable neat at 61.4 per cent.

Finish: Peat, peppered gravy, chargrilled steak, cigar smoke, diesel, lemon. Long, warming and drying out at the end.

General comments: I’d heard good things about this. Seems they are true. Amazing balance and complexity for a 3-month-old new make.

Rating: 88/100

Ichiro’s Malt The First. 61.8%abv


Nose: Lots of leafy notes to start. Bourbony. Cola, cigar leaf, some floral notes, bread dough, lemon, pork crackling, strawberry, butter menthols, fish sauce, mashed potatoes.
Palate: Neat, it’s big on hot spices; vanilla, cola, tobacco and strawberry. With water, lots of barley sugar, more vanilla, sweet orange, ginger, honey and bubblegum.
Finish: Is long and malty with tobacco, mushrooms and sweet spices.
Last Word: Chichibu is officially on the whisky map and how!
Rating: 86/100

Chichibu The Floor Malted 2009 3YO 50.5% abv


Nose: Shy it’s not. Big notes of fermenting pears, cookie dough, pine needles, eucalyptus, soap flakes, malt soaked timber, tinned peaches, kiwi fruit and menthol.
Palate: Intensely malty. Czech pilsner, cornflake cookies, muesli bars, pine, menthol. Also brings back memories of walking past the yakitori stalls in the alleyways along the north west side Shinjuku station. Quite oily. An unusual but appealing profile.

Finish: Actually a bit short considering the bold nose and palate. Mostly follows the palate with some added lime.

Last word: Like the Chichibu The First this one is very good at only 3 years old. You can just sense the care that goes into these hand crafted whiskies.

Rating: 86/100
*Update 2/01/2013 I’ve always known there was a flavor in the mix that I needed to add to these motes and it’s a very strong one. Just taken me awhile to put my finger on it. Kellogg/s Honey Puffs.