Another Chichibu on More Drams. I know, life is hard, poor me, having to try these very hyped Japanese whiskies. Anyway. We’re back to Ichiro Akuto’s distillery, this time with a 9-year-old bourbon-matured Chichibu. As you know, Chichibu is a Japanese whisky distillery that was founded in 2008 by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of the Hanyu distillery. The distillery has gained a reputation for producing high-quality whiskies using traditional Japanese production methods, and for aging its whiskies for shorter periods of time than is typical in the industry. This has led to a high level of interest and hype around Chichibu and its whiskies, as whisky enthusiasts appreciate the unique flavours and aromas that Chichibu’s whiskies offer. Additionally, the limited production of Chichibu’s whiskies has made them highly sought after, which has only added to the hype around the distillery. So today, thanks to my friend Benjamin who this year again provided me with a great advent calendar, we’re trying another Chichibu, distilled in 2011.
Chichibu 2011 Review
As I said in the introduction, today’s Chichibu has been distilled in 2011. It was then matured for 9 years in second-fill ex-bourbon casks, and bottled in 2021 for La Maison Du Whisky’s 65th anniversary. From that barrel, numbered 5578, 213 bottles were filled, at the cask strength of 57.4%. Obviously, chill filtration and colouring were not used, we’re with a distillery that respects the end consumer and the liquid. Unfortunately sold out, unless you want to spend a fortune (more than €1400) on the secondary market.
Burnished. Large beads change slowly to large slow descending legs.
Neat: Medium intensity. Enticing notes of bright Madagascar vanilla at first, then fudge and butterscotch, and brioche façon pain perdu. The malted barley shines through, then leaves the place to lightly spiced notes of paprika and clove. Soft white fruitiness of pear and peaches.
With water: reduction makes the barley shine even more, as you can discern the grist from the husk. Pulp from a freshly pressed orange, and the minerality of a fistful of pebbles.
Neat: Thick oily mouthfeel, with an arrival with a nice citrusy sourness, a small hit of spices, giving a tingle on the tip of the tongue. Dark chocolate coated chili and black pepper and crunched roasted coffee beans take the spotlight for a moment. The fruitiness is now coming from roasted pineapple and passion fruit juice, splendid.
With water: still that nice peppery chocolate-y sourness harmony, but with a nice lemon pie tartness and a spoon of acacia honey.
Peppery cask char with malted barley husk and liquorice stick, then the dark chocolate comes back after a minute and an ever so slight feeling of smoke. Very long.
Bright and punchy and balanced, a beautiful dance between the cask and the spirit, full of harmony. A shame those Chichibus are so highly sought after than they cost a kidney, I’m sure more because of rarity, greed and hype than production cost. Because a whisky like this one, you want to enjoy it, share it with friends, and see that it’s drunk, as it should. Beautiful whisky.
Thank you, Benjamin!