Chichibu Peated, 2010-2013

This turned out to be Japanese food and whisky week on the blog. I reviewed two Japanese restaurants in the Los Angeles area (Raku in West Hollywood and Osawa in Pasadena) and on Wednesday I had a review of a young Yoichi.  And now this Chichibu to close the week. Aha, you’re thinking, what about Monday, you bastard? Didn’t you review a Bowmore then? Well, joke’s on you, cynical interlocutor: Bowmore is owned by Suntory. Not so clever now, are you? Chichibu, however, is not owned by Suntory. It is to the big Japanese producers as Kilchoman is to the big Scottish producers: small, artisanal etc. I believe they started distilling in 2008, which means nothing very old has come on the market from their own spirit. This one is certainly not old. Distilled in 2010 and bottled in 2013 it’s even younger than Wednesday’s Yoichi. It’s also peated. I’m curious to see how it compares with young peated Islay malts. Let’s get right to it.  Continue reading


Chichibu 2009-2013, Chibidaru Cask

Chichibu 2009, Chibidaru
After two 20 yo Yoichis let’s close out this mini-run of Japanese malts with this very young whisky from the relatively new Chichibu distillery. Founded in 2008 by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of the now shuttered Hanyu distillery, and the man whose name is on the famous “Ichiro’s Malts” series, Chichibu has already become a bit of a sensation in its young life—somewhat predictable given the founder’s pedigree and the general excitement these days about Japanese whisky of any kind. It is a small distillery and so far they’ve released a number of small batch malts in a number of different styles (peated, unpeated, different cask types)—most of which have been very well received. (The prices, it should be noted, are very high for the age.) The one I am reviewing today is from chibidaru or smaller quarter casks. It is I believe a vintage, small batch release, not a single cask. Well, let’s see what it’s like. Continue reading