Ichiro: Chichibu: The Peated 2016 (Japanese Single Malt Whisky: 4 Year: 54.5% ABV)

Visual:Clear gold. Thin slow streaks.

Nose: Smokey. Beef crisps. Barbecue sausage. Charcoal. Honey barbecue sauce. Water adds spare ribs with Thai spice sauce glaze.

Body: Honey. Grapes. Sweet and smooth. Honey smoked sauce. Water adds spare ribs and thai seven spice.

Finish: Honey soaked barbecue sauce. Glazed ribs. Water adds Thai seven spice and dry beef.

Conclusion: This is much sweeter than I imagined it would be – the peat does kick out heavily early on, creating the image of a real meaty, charcoal tasting whisky. So that is what you would expect, what follows is far from that though.

It is smokey but in a real barbecue sauce fashion – glazed and spicy. It feels really thick on the tongue, the barbecue characteristics giving it a huge weight. It is oily, smoked and meaty backed in a sticky and sweeter fashion than you would usually expect from such a high peat level.

A completely different experience for a peated whisky with much more gamy meat in the meaty elements it has, so the peat it has, despite the weight, is actually a backing element here. The sweetness is thick and meaty so it doesn’t get sickly, instead bonding everything together.

Wonderful stuff.

Background: Bottled 2016 – Distilled 2012, so I am estimating the four years age statement from that. This is peated to 55 ppm, roughly equivalent to Ardbeg is peat levels I think. 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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