Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt & Grain Chichibu Whisk(e)y Matsuri 2020 Single Cask World Blended Whisky

[58.6%・NAS・Bottled in 2019・Official Bottling・Cask No. 7256・Single Cask of 293 Bottles]


A really filling serving of creamy grain with a proper showing of char coming from the wood, fruits displaying some greenness, green plums along with some white pine sticks.

Palate & Finish:

A bit sharp as expected, with some decent notes of ume and red cherry flavoured glucose gel; quite spicy with a creamy layer of grain notes following through.

Spices ease off with some menthol and buttered charred toast in the finish.


Fairly fun if I were to be honest but certainly with some rougher edges in my opinion, good for session dramming with a few casual whisky drinking friends and enjoying their envious looks..

[Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]


Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt & Grain Chichibu Whisk(e)y Matsuri 2019 Single Cask World Blended Whisky

[58.4%・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 5298・Single Cask Release of 244 Bottles]


German caramel biscuits and vanilla fudge, some citrus flavoured pastries, some passion fruit pulp as the dram lets out its grainy side in time.

Palate & Finish:

Quite intensely sweet to the taste, caramel crystals and caramelised popcorn, though it does carry lighter notes with plums and peaches drizzled with honey and sprinkled with shaved wood.

A tad spicy and mildly sweet in the finish.


The educated guess is that the juice is fairly young and quite a substantial ratio of imported grain is in play. Despite the genre though the dram has been curated to having a fresh and poised profile.

The better Matsuri release this year in my opinion and close to scoring a star..

[Recommended if you like the distillery/style]


Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu X Kusuda 2017

[57.5%・Distilled in 2011・Bottled in 2017 ・6 Years Old・Original Bottling・Limited Release of 1270 Bottles]


Dignified with the fine French oak influence; a polite presence of wine tannins alongside freshly plucked strawberries conveying that clean sweetness and dressed with ginger flowers.

Palate & Finish:

A subtle macaron-like sweetness as the jammy strawberries intensify then effortlessly dissolve, granting a spike of acidity that gives a beautiful zing.

A rewarding finish with the lush forest berries and a silky creaminess.


This is the second collaboration between Chichibu Distillery and Kusuda Wines.  I have been searching for the first release for a couple of years now without success so naturally the anticipation has built up for this dram.  I’m pleased to say that this dram has rewarded my longing..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]


Whisky Review: Ichiro’s Malt Aged 23 Years Cask Strength

Tasting Notes:

Ichiro’s Malt Aged 23 Years Cask Strength ☆

Style: Sweet and Composed


Sweet honey cornflakes aroma, red fruits and flower meadow in touch with an unexpected dash of white vinegar. Fresh peppermint spice fizzes, then we come to see some lively, light-hearted malt.


Beautiful sherry and floral notes entwining and unfolding on the palate. Sweet, elegant delivery. Transition to caramel, gorgeous slice of butter, malt with a hint of tropical fruits goodness. Bright spices tingling softly. Subtle wine treated oak, more chocolate peppermint ice cream as we edge towards finish.


Soft chocolate mousse as mint spices spiking, the sherry malt lingers around nicely.


Splendid sweetness building around the malt. Sophisticated structure delivered with elegance. Sherry notes nicely supported by the strength. Zippy, in a balanced way.

[58%・ Cask Strength・ Non Chilled Filtered・ Non Coloured・ Original Bottling]




Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Houou-Uhi

[46.5%・12 Years Old・Ichiro’s Malt Bottling・Limited Release]

One can make an argument that Mr. Ichiro Akuto is perhaps one of the leading figures in blended whiskies these days, with Chichibu and some dwindling Hanyu stocks at his disposal. His casks have featured in the two releases this year that melted whisky forums, the Glover and Ghost 8; but it’s his earlier stuff from a few years’ back that really intrigues me. This particular bottling features some 12-15 years old Hanyu and Kawasaki up to 35 years of age, it’s bottled for Japanese department store Isetan (Funny thing about Japanese department stores, they used to be the places where people could get their hands on single cask Japanese whiskies).


On the nose, there is a hint of grain spice that’s just there, rather shy initially. There is a soft fragrant note that makes for a rather pretty scene.

Palate & Finish:

A cute cotton candy note arrives on the palate, there is a touch of Chinese fritillaria syrup note that draws out the oiliness from the grain coming through. Cherries, lychees and orange peels.

The finishing is vaguely long with tender cherry blossoms, and a hint of Schweppes Cream Soda, of all things.


This one is a treat if you are a person who likes the finer things in life, I have been refraining from using the term ‘delicate’ but I will make an exception for this dram!

☆ [Recommended]