Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt & Grain
A very curious bottling from Ichiro Akuto, one of the rock stars of Japanese whisky, and master distiller of Chichibu. As the name already suggests, this is a blend of both malt and grain whisky. However, there’s a little more to it.
Ichiro’s Malt & Grain doesn’t just include whisky from Chichibu, but from eight other distilleries as well. And not just Japanese distilleries, but also from Scottish, English, Irish, American and Canadian producers. Now that’s an interesting concoction!
Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt & Grain (46%, OB, 2011)
Nose: Light and malty with a hint of oak and burlap, but there’s also soft, ripe fruits in the background. Think apricots and mushy banana, although I find some honey too, as well as a decent amount of vanilla custard.
Taste: Loads of banana (more of the candied variety this time around) and vanilla, as well as toffee. It certainly has quite a spicy backbone. Ginger comes to mind, as well pepper. A tad oak-y and dry.
Finish: Drying and spicy. Short to medium in length.
Nicely balanced nose, followed by a little less balance on the palate. This is good, nice whisky, but it doesn’t knock me off my socks.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.