Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ichiro's Malt Chichibu The Peated 2015 Cask Strength

I'd been on the lookout for months for a new Ichiro's Malt Single Malt Release from Chichibu Distillery 秩父蒸留所 when, without any advance notice, I came across two bottles of Ichiro's Malt Chichibu The Peated 2015 Cask Strength, which I'll shorten as IMC The Peated 2015 CS (or something like this), for the rest of this post.

Heavily peated whiskies are my favorite whiskies, so I was pretty excited when I learned in February of this year that the next IMC single malt release would be another 'The Peated' peated to Ardbeg levels. But as I made the bottle-shop rounds and asked owners if they'd heard anything, the collective response was NO. So, I was taken aback when it suddenly appeared on the shelf at my favorite whisky store here in Tokyo. There were only two bottles remaining, and when I attempted to buy both, the shop master asked me to leave one of them for another customer, and in a sense 'share the Ichiro's Malt love.'

So I did.

I took the bottle I bought to the bar and opened it soon after, and was very pleased with my timely purchase.

Limited Release - 5980 bottles (bottle 1265 of 5980)
Distilled - 2011
Cask Strength - 62.5% abv
Purchase Price - ¥8000 (~$67 US as of this writing)

For a 3-year-old whisky, this is exceptionally mature. The nose gives dry, earthy peat with a cinnamon sweetness that turns buttery over time (slightly Octomorish), with some seaweed as well. On the palate, immediate delivery, intense, sweet and spicy (consistent with the nose), vanilla and black pepper. The finish is long and smoky, oak and ash.

The quality of Chichibu Distillery really shows in this one, and I have to say it's my favorite Japanese whisky yet.

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