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Chichibu The First


Since the promising initial releases of Newborn expressions from Ichiro Akuto’s Chichibu distillery we have been impatiently waiting for the first fully matured distillery release. The Newborn expressions were all over the map from bourbon barrels, to heavily peated and even straight mizunara casks. With such a wide variety of whiskies we were curious to see what flavor profile Akuto San would take with his first release.

Chichibu The First~$115
Distilled 2008 Bottled 2011
7400 Bottles at 61.8%ABV
Vatting of 31 Bourbon Barrels

Color: Light yellow, gold

Nose: Buttery sweetness, slightly dusty, a very highland-like malt nose – fresh fruit, apples, light syrup, bright, hints of sarsaparilla spice

Palate: Sweet candies, sugar coated, spices, tight and balled up though, too much alcohol to get a good taste neat. Cardboard dullness on the back end, green skinned fruits – apples, grapes. Some light bitterness.

Finish: Medium, grainy aftertaste.

With Water
Nose – opens up more mizunara oily fragrant wood notes, something metallic though, even brighter, apple tart

Mouth – mellows out more, more filled out green fruits with a nice natural sweetness, tons of malty and grain, chewy.

Comments: A great malt that shows that Chichibu has a lot of promise. I was surprised that this was the route that Akuto San decided to go down though as it was fairly tame and middle of the road – not that it is a bad thing. I’m really looking forward to future release, I do hope that the prices don’t spiral out of control though as they are getting expensive and harder to purchase before they sell out. – Chris


Another take: A thin, grassy yellow, the color took to sunlight well. The nose was not what I expected.  Heat and chocolate, barely and bread with a dash of iodine and wood.  Varied grain-based notes rose to the top of the body.  Baked goods with sweet butter, roasted malts, ground grains and  spiced apple.  An airy, easy-to-enjoy quality permeated the varied starches.  Still, at cask strength, an intense, lingering mid-to-dark sugarines settled in to stay.  Not what I expected from Ichiro, and this was some enjoyable unpredictability.  A touch of water unearthed some sharp floral notes but did not dilute the flavor…  adding a little spring to the darker warmth of this one. –Nate

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Chichibu Single Malt Newborn Heavily Peated Review #Whisky


Distillery:  Chichibu

Distilled June-July 2009

Cask In: July 2009

Bottled: November 2009 (Yes that makes it about 4 months old!!!)

Chichibu Single Malt Newborn Heavily Peated Label

Alcohol: 61.4% (Screamin!)

Chichibu Single Malt Newborn Heavily Peated

I found this bottle while perusing through a Japanese liquor website.   Heavily peated and only 4 months old – I had to try it.  The price wasn’t bad either (~$55).  I fully expected it to taste like new make and not have a whole lot of flavor at all.  It is still very one dimensional, but I was truly surprised how much flavor it had.  “Had” is the operative word…as you can see from the picture there isn’t much left at all.  I do like it enough that I am ordering another bottle of it.  Along with a bottle of the Double Matured Newborn.

Color – Amber orange

Nose:  Peat with a capital P! You definitely get huge wafts of sweet peat when you first nose it and it hides the high alcohol content well.  After awhile it opens up with a little maltiness.

Palate: A stiff jab of peat with that 61.4% alcohol following right up after.  It does fade rather quickly though.  You can tell it is a youngin’ and that it needs more time – but only 4 months old?  Really?  A hint of nutmeg/spice.  It is not all that complex, straight forward peat as advertised.  More of a nasal and back of the tongue alcohol feeling.

Finish:  Short and fades fast.

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