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92 points

Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt U.S. Edition (2019 Release), 55.5%

Trademark rich, ripe fruitiness abounds here with a mashbill of malts consisting of Braemar, peated Concerto, and floor-malted Tipple. Fruit hard candy, pear, melon skin, green apple, and grassy turf smoke on the nose. It’s a big, juicy whisky on the palate with tangy citrus, pear, vanilla, and caramel, sideswiped by pepper and clove. Ride it out to discover Skittles, honeydew, and a lengthy finish of Golden Delicious apple. (1,556 bottles) Collectible

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

91 points

Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt On The Way Japanese Single Malt (2019 Release), 51.5%

Drawn from bourbon casks, refill chibidaru quarter casks, and mizunara-head hogsheads, this has barley, dried apricot, finely ground pepper, and sugared apple on the nose. Wafting peat smoke aromas are accentuated by dilution. Incredibly fruity with plenty of body, the initial apple, pear, and spike of pepper are overtaken by golden syrup, vanilla, pastry, candied fruits, and fruity desserts. Stick with cask strength: Water releases gooseberry sharpness and quells the spices. (11,000 bottles, 288 for U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

85 points

Chichibu On The Way, 58.3%

Lifted, quite estery and delicate, with fruit blossom, preserved lemon, and light minerality. It needs water; when added, out burst blossoms, brioche, and fondant icing. On the palate, there’s a frothy pink party going on: marshmallows, flowers, raspberry, and cream. Water adds silkiness, while the finish throws out yuzu, then tightens in the manner typical for a young whisky (it’s 3 years old). Not only on the way, but getting there. ¥25,000/700 ml

Reviewed by: (Summer 2014)

85 points

Chichibu Chibidaru 2009, 54.5%

Chibidaru is a Japanese slang term meaning “small,” which is appropriate given the size of the cask—quarter-size—used for maturing whisky from a chibidaru distillery. This has the intensity of youth with some lemon meringue pie, pomelo, and hint of night-scented stocks. As the nose suggests, this is a wee (chibidaru) sweetie with mouthwatering citrus character and soft-centered sweetness moving to mace, strawberry, and a popping candy finish. Akuto-san is making some great whisky. £95

Reviewed by: (Winter 2013)

84 points

Chichibu The Peated 2013, 53.5%

Can you get sweet peat? For that’s what we have here. Very fragrant, with delicate wood smoke mixing with citrus and roasted barley. When water is added, there’s a mossy note and the sweet warmth of cow’s breath. Continues in this vein in the mouth, with the peat now becoming like hot embers. Again, citric on the end, though more like Amalfi lemon with light bite. Very good. ¥24,000/700 ml

Reviewed by: (Summer 2014)

81 points

Chichibu The First distilled 2008 (bottled 2011), 61.8%

Ichiro Akuto, whose family previously owned the now demolished Hanyu distillery, and have five centuries of experience in sake production, opened his boutique distillery outside the town of Chichibu just over three years ago. This is the first official release of whisky (rather than new make) and it’s delicious. Lightly scented with touches of lemongrass, fennel pollen, sweet pear, and cookie dough, it has lovely balance and weight. Water allows it to spread over the tongue. One to watch. £90

Reviewed by: (Spring 2012)

81 points

Chichibu The Floor Malted 3 year old, 50.5%

Another work in progress from the ever-enterprising Ichiro Akuto. This is made from barley that was malted by him and his team in Norfolk. Unusually for a Japanese malt, the aroma is, yes, malty, but it is more chaff-like than nutty. Chichibu’s floral element is there alongside grape must, verjus, and herbs. The palate is a fascinating mix of the very sweet with balancing dry and sour notes. A distillery that’s growing up fast. £90

Reviewed by: (Spring 2013)

80 points

Chichibu Port Pipe 2009, 54.5%

Matured in 500-liter port pipes, the color is that of a Provence rosé wine. Young, but the oak is apparent. Though it’s slightly hot when neat, there is distinct raspberry and cranberry fruitiness, nettles, grass, and, with water, chalk. Sweet on the tip of the tongue, there are little glimpses of raspberry fool and some caramelized notes from the cask, but it’s not yet fully integrated. £95

Reviewed by: (Winter 2013)

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