Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Venture Whisky Ltd./Ichiro's Malts
Score: 94 points
This is the first 5-year-old whisky from Ichiro Akuto’s Chichibu Distillery in Japan, though you’d never guess it was five years old in a blind tasting. The whisky was matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon casks and Ichiro’s own “chibidaru” casks, which are hogshead casks cut across the diameter to produce a shorter, squatter quarter cask with new white oak heads that are wider than conventional barrel heads.
The nose is buttery with soft spices, including ginger and nutmeg, a nice maltiness, wet leather, and hints of honey. The taste is dry, astringent, and very spicy with white pepper, coriander, and chili powder balanced by notes of butterscotch, honey, banana, and coconut underneath. The balance is excellent, and the spices last forever, but do reveal a touch of dark chocolate as they start to fade. The finish is equally dry and aromatic with lingering white pepper, dark chocolate, and a touch of caramel that comes out slowly. A well-balanced classic dram! (October, 2014)