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Monday, March 13, 2023

Chichibu 2019 Travel Exclusive

If you haven't noticed, I like Chichibu's single malt, A LOT. For my palate, it's the lone young distillery (in the world) whose quality matches its hype. How they have nailed a high quality product at such a young age is a complete mystery to me. I just hope they keep on doing it, and perhaps release something under $300 someday.

I will be reviewing three Chichibus this week, with each whisky sparring against my fab lone bottle of the 'Bu. First up is the 2019 Travel Exclusive release. Yes, the travel retail market continues to be uninspiring, but perhaps the Saitama single malt can work its magic even on the brightly lit shelves of Haneda and Narita duty free stores...

Distillery: Chichibu #1
Location: Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Ownership: Venture Whisky
Range: Ichiro's Malt
Age: ???
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ??? bottles
Exclusive to: Japan Duty Free shops
Alcohol by Volume: 57.5%
(from a bottle split)


The nose begins simple, though unremarkable, just barley, caramel, and a hint of vanilla. It takes time for the fruit to arrive, but when it does it is good, and there are flowers. Mangos and citrons. Roses and jasmine blossoms. Ovaltine lurks somewhere back there......then shows up in the palate, all malty and milk chocolatey. The same barley, mangos, and roses appear here too. It's all very sweet until tart and bitter citrus balances things out. Maybe some cloves in the background? It finishes sweetly. Lime candy, clementines, a little bit of banana. Plenty malty.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Bye bye, vanilla and caramel. Hello, oranges and guavas on the nose, with hints of lime and pine needles underneath. Tart, bitter, and sweet citrus dominate the palate, with that maltiness still rippling along. It finishes with good doses of tart citrus and smoky chiles.


This is the first Chichibu I've had that feels a little young and slightly oaky. A contemporary version of Chichibu perhaps? It is still very very good whisky. The palate rocks at full strength. The whole thing loses some complexity when diluted, but expands its great citrus notes. So it's another one I'd love to have at any time, but not the distillery's A-game, which may be why it was shuttled out to the airport.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85

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