Ichiro: Chichibu: On The Way (2nd Release) (Japanese Single Malt Whisky: 55.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold with fast thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Light greenery. Light sulphur. Pencil shavings. Forests. Water adds twigs into the mix.

Body: Honey. Apples. Strong alcohol feel. Oak. Water adds golden syrup, pears and tinned tropical fruit. Peppery. Malt toffee. Apricot and apples.

Finish: Drying. Oak. Water makes peppery. More water adds white chocolate, light mint leaves, menthol and peppermint.

Conclusion: This seems to be a mix of two main whisky trends. The first is a very greenery led set of notes – menthol, forests, open air after the rain, and the like in imagery. Against that is the fruit apricot, apples and pears. With a few exceptions this leans very green in the imagery it brings.

Obviously at over 55% abv it is a bit potent and burning neat, but despite that it still shows the greenery very openly. Water is needed though to bring out the subtlety though – still in the fields to rural imagery though – peppery notes and such. The bourbon oak influence is more subtle – there are white chocolate notes but fairly dryly delivered, and touches of tinned tropical fruit. It results in a menthol fresh, peppery dry mix at the front, but backed by rewarding subtlety if you experiment with water. It reminds me of Johnnie Walker green, but with more fire to it.

So, rewarding, very evidently young, and very green and forest feeling whisky that , with water, rewards with just enough sweet notes to offset. A very good first impression for the Distillery.

Background: Bottled 2015 – not sure of the age statement for this one. It is a mix of two bourbon casks and a mizunara hogshead if I remember rightly. There was alcohol involved, please forgive me for my missing some notes. Due to this being from a tasting, with the usual distractions coming from cool info being given by the host, chatting, smaller measures, etc my notes will be a tad shorter than usual. However the chance to try and do notes on these five whiskies that would set me back silly money if I tried to buy them all individually meant that I gave it my best shot. This Chichubu tasting was done at Independent Spirit but the whisky was provided by James, a private collector who did the tasting itself. At twenty five quid it was ridiculously good value. Chichibu is a tiny distillery that started operating in 2008 and I think is the newest Japanese distillery still. Never tried their stuff, but had heard many good things about them before going in.

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