Craft Japanese whisky launched

The first whisky from Japanese craft distillery Chichibu has been launched. Chichibu The First is three years old, 61.8% abv and limited to 7,400 bottles. The whisky is not chill-filtered.

The distiller behind Chichibu is Ichiro Akuto, whose family owned the Hanyu distillery. Akuto is known for rescuing Hanyu stock after the distillery closed in 2000, and creating the Card Series of whiskies.

Chichibu The First is aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and has launched in Paris, Stockholm and the UK with a Japanese launch set for October 10. Half of the stock will remain in Japan and the other half is to be distributed by UK-based Number One Drinks Company.

Akuto said he is planning a heavily peated Chichibu for August 2012 and his ambition is to create a 100% Japanese whisky. He has started to grow his own barley and source Japanese peat. 

Chichibu The First will retail at £89.95/€115/ ¥10,000. 

Drinks International tasting note:

On the nose: floral top notes of jasmine and apple blossom. Digestive biscuits and a hint of green tea and vanilla are included in the flavour spectrum.

On the palate: More complex than you would expect a three year old whisky to be. Wonderful light and creamy mouth feel with no burn, which is surprising considering the abv. Flavours include jasmine, apple and pear, green tea, vanilla and a hint of coconut.