Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Whisk(e)y Matsuri 2020 Chichibu 9 Years Old (Cask No. 972)

[61.6%・9 Years Old・Distilled in 2010・ Bottled in 2019・Official Bottling・Cask No. 972・Single Cask of 215 Bottles]

Nose:

Fruit punch, candied strawberries and a wild floral note, but also slightly metallic and rather spirit driven.

Palate & Finish:

Ginger syrup with a whole heap of aggressive spices, quite a prominent malt spirit presence, with some background notes of sticky strawberries, sugar cured watermelon slices and wee peanut brittle, the ginger spices continue on to impale the tastebuds.

Chewier and spicier in the finish.

Thoughts:

You would have thought the dram would have at least mellowed out a bit after 9 years but it is just too raw and spicy for another episode of the king’s new clothes I’m afraid..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Single Cask Peated (Cask No. 2077)

[61.8%・Distilled in 2012・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2077・Single Cask Release of 356 Bottles]

Nose:

Metallic and peaty, seaweed and brine painting a rustic scene, ocean waves rushing towards a bon fire built on wet sand to create a salty and ashy vibe, followed by notes of green fruits and cigarette smoke.

Palate & Finish:

Syrupy sweet with a thrilling immersion of peat and spices with pepper and sichimi and later on seaweed and brine. Only afterwards does a follow through of ripe fruits come on.

The peat continues strong into the finish with a brush of espresso.

Thoughts:

Such saltiness in a dram, powerful and relentless, and depending on your preference it may be considered exhilarating.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Malt Dream Cask for Cask and Still

[61.8%・Distilled in 2009・Bottled in 2016・ 7 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. MDC541・Single Cask Release of 193 Bottles]

Nose:

Rich vanilla from the get going but other than that a bit on the shy side initially but turns out to be quite a spicy number despite the floral honey sweetness, a prominent cereal note develops in time.

Palate & Finish:

Honey and syrup intertwining with soft pears and pineapples as the spices build up.

Lemony and slightly malty with the honey stickiness making a come back in the finish.

Thoughts:

Aged in a 1st full Bourbon barrel from Maker’s Mark, intensely flavoured like a fever dream.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Chibadaru Single Cask (Cask No. 286)

[61.9%・Distilled in 2009・Bottled in 2013・ 3 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. 286・Single Cask Release of 160 Bottles]

Nose:

Spirit driven with notes of sour plums, lemon custard, green malt, matchsticks and honeyed nougat.

Palate & Finish:

Bold juicy delivery of honey, raspberry gelato and cherry marmalade with a sharp edge. It’s oily also with a rice porridge like sweetness along with an immense spiciness.

Malted biscuits dusted with chocolate powder, the spirit and barley sugar still bode heavy.

Thoughts:

One of the earlier Chichibu Chibadaru expressions and it really shows, feels very young and feisty but already showing a heap of signature flavour characters.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Peated (Cask No. 2088)

[63.2%・Distilled in 2012・Bottled in 2017・ 5 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2088・Single Cask Release of 225 Bottles]

Nose:

Smoked leg ham and chimney soot, wee tropical with the spirit giving out a peanut butter creaminess.

Palate & Finish:

Rather sweet and gooey to the taste, watermelon jelly and syrupy tropical fruits followed by an immensely peated phenomenon with an earthy undertone, astoundingly substantial.

Charred toast and vanilla sugar to round off the experience.

Thoughts:

Remember circa 2012 or 2014 when the Peated was an exciting indie darling?

This one feels like a déjà vu, but more matured and therefore better.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

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]

Nose:

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.

Thoughts:

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]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu And The Clouds Parted (Specially Selected by La Maison du Whisky)

[61.9%・4 Years Old・Distilled in 2011・Bottled in 2015・La Maison du Whisky Bottling・Cask No. 1371・Single Cask Release of 308 Bottles]

Nose:

Oh wow, such richness even for a Chichibu, there’s the impressive Madeira cask influence! Full bodied raisins with this certain aged lemon zing.  Milk chocolate coated apricots with brown sugar rub against some wood chips as the nose turns slightly vegetal in time.

Palate & Finish:

A condensed stroke of brown sugar soaked prunes and figs.  The big bootiful delivery of grape sauce and caramelised apples unfolds into chocolate sauce drizzled over more burnt figs and dressed with some christmas spices.

A light brush of menthol onto the crystallised grape sugar as the malt runs long..

Thoughts:

Chichibu’s single cask offerings tend to toe the line between intense enjoyment and overwhelm, and that’s usually down to the spirit being so big.. however this is perhaps the first time I feel like the cask influence faring stronger than the spirit and I happen to be one of those people that quite like when Chichibu does a Madeira cask..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu White Wine Cask Exclusively Bottled for Chichibu Whisk(e)y Matsuri 2019

[63.1%・9 Years Old・Distilled in 2009・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2352・Single Cask Release of 245 Bottles]

Nose:

The cask gives a densely sweet presence on the nose, some sultana and apple vinegar note faring a tad sharp. Hint of smoked bacon along with oak in time.

Palate & Finish:

Bursting with energy with the floral honey driving a lot of sultana. The delivery grows malty then just a wee bit sour, with maple syrup and a brush of apple vinegar.

Nutty and buttery in the finish, some dried grapes to go with the oak tannins.

Thoughts:

A relatively long white wine cask maturation is perhaps too experimental, the spirit is perhaps a tad burdened by the acidic element of the cask, an inherent risk taken in order to push the maturation for that long.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Single Cask Peated Exclusively Bottled for Modern Malt Whisky Market 2017

[62.9%・Distilled in 2013・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2655・Single Cask Release of 232 Bottles]

Nose:

Impressively peaty, ashy, antiseptic with a hint of sweet peat amongst things, lemon marmalade churned with vanilla grain and seasoned with Italian herbs.

Palate & Finish:

Robust hint of peat with a lemony infusion, dried twigs, iodine and an earthy presence. Can pineapples becoming more evident in time as some brown sugar sweeps in.

Gingery and peaty in the finish with hint of light citrus honey sweetness, traces of chocolate dust linger.

Thoughts:

Chichibu’s peated releases have always been impressive as young whiskies ever since the very beginning, I believe it’s something that’s vital to their success.

The “Night” is a very structured peated dram, something of a marvel the way it has been built up. Close to scoring two stars.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Single Cask Exclusively Bottled for Modern Malt Whisky Market 2017

[60.2%・Distilled in 2011・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Cask No. 1320・Single Cask Release of 223 Bottles]

Nose:

Substantially tropical with pineapples and apricots generously coming through, plenty of honey to go with splashes of pepper, quite pleasing indeed.

Palate & Finish:

A transcending tropical sweetness under the immense strength. Wondrously fruity with some sweet soy bean note layered with thin wax to even put the sweetness.

A pleasing creamed honey finish.

Thoughts:

Brilliantly extracting some vibrant tropical notes whilst managing to keep the spirit in check, the “Day” is really pleasing indeed and in my opinion it sets a solid benchmark for a young new world distillery doing a bourbon cask expression. Close to scoring two stars..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas