...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Chichibu 2020 Peated US Edition

Chichibu has released one US Edition each year since 2018. Their 2019 version was dreamy, or, rather, "flabbergasting". That one was unpeated, while their 2020 Edition was peated. I enjoy both types of Chichibu spirit, so I've been looking forward to this one no less than Monday's pour, maybe even a touch more.

Though the bottle's label doesn't provide an age statement (though Whiskybase says five years), it does list the cask types and numbers of the whisky's ingredients: four first-fill bourbon barrels, three refill bourbon barrels, two refill Chibidaru (quarter casks), and one refill "wine" cask. At this point I trust this distillery's blending more than nearly any other producer in the world, so let's have at it!

actual abv: 55.5%
Distillery: Chichibu #1
Location: Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Ownership: Venture Whisky
Range: US Editions
Age: maybe 5 years old?
Maturation: 10 casks, see above
Outturn: 2109 bottles
Exclusive to: USA
Alcohol by Volume: 55.5%
(from a bottle split)


Much like Yoichi's older malts, this Chichibu's nose is not overwhelming peaty, instead it's right in the Goldilocks Zone. A little bit o' farm, a touch of industry, and a few band-aids. Menthol, mango, and milk chocolate make up the rest. Uh-oh, the palate lands right in the Caol Ila / direct-fired Ardmore plane. Salty bonfire smoke, sweet oranges, and tart limes, with a bitter herbal rumble underneath. The citrus outlasts the smoke in the finish, while dried herbs and salt stay around even longer.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose becomes a little louder. More farm, more ocean, wet stones. Less industry. Hints of grapefruit and guava in the background. The palate reads very salty, almost brothy. Limes and minerals in the middle. Soil in the back. The mouthfeel has become surprisingly thin. It finishes with limes, salt, and minerals.


A peated style seemingly tailored for my palate, this Chichibu could take on many of the better casks of the distilleries referenced in the notes above. It only shows its youth when diluted, while at full strength it seems like a 12-18 year old aged in 2nd-fill casks. The quarter casks and wine cask seem to have merged with the others without making a fuss, giving that spirit plenty of room to shine. Yep, another winner from Chichibu.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 89