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Friday, March 17, 2023

Chichibu 2021 US Edition

I end this Chichibu week with a whisky I've eyed many times, and would have purchased blindly had it been $100 cheaper. Unlike the 2020 US Edition, the 2021 is not peated. And it has a bit more oak in the recipe. This time there are three new oak barrels, three new oak hoggies, and four first-fill barrels. Looks like Ichiro Akuto's crew is showing the US some love via the use of shiny, unsullied American oak. Will the spirit survive???

Distillery: Chichibu #1
Location: Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Ownership: Venture Whisky
Range: US Editions
Age: ???
Maturation: 10 casks, see above
Outturn: 2150 bottles
Exclusive to: USA
Alcohol by Volume: 53.5%
(from a bottle split)


A burst of toasted barley reaches my nose first, followed by fruits similar to my fine single cask (okay, it's not MY cask, but gosh I wish it was): first kiwis and guavas, then citrons. Some lovely notes of roses, moss, ocean, and candied pecans pass through the background. A dunnage note leads the palate, followed by lots of sweetness via orange candy and National-Distillers-esque(!) butterscotch. It gains plenty of non-woody bitterness with time, as well as some caramel candy and chile heat. It finishes sweet and peppery, almost smoky, with some limes and caramel candy too.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose simplifies and focuses on kiwi, guava, candied pecans, and a bright mintiness. The creamy palate offers grapefruits, cherries, peach creamsicles, and a touch of barrel char. It finishes with maraschino cherries, limes, earth, and caramel candy.


Yes indeed, this is Chichibu for the American palate. It's almost like they mixed 10% great bourbon in with 90% classic 'Bu. And I like it. I don't think it's the distillery at its best, but all those fruits cannot be silenced, so it's still a powerful single malt. Though it's out of my price range, 8-10 year old Chichibu from a refill barrel sounds mighty fine right now. If I can source it, I will review it. But for now I take little issue with this American Chichibu.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - I'd rather not look
Rating - 88

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