Ichiro’s Malt “Double Single Malts”
2007-2008, Japan and Scotland
700ml, 62% ABV, Bottle #117 of 500
In yet another “one-off” barrel expression Ichiro Akuta of Chichibu has proven, yet again, why his whiskeys are so special and sought after. This expression blends whiskeys from two different countries; 2008 Chichibu from Japan and a 2007 highland single malt that remains protected by an NDA. Blended in barrel, aged in Saitama, and bottled in 2015 with an average age of 7.5 years.
I had the pleasure of drinking this whiskey earlier this year at the famed Bar Zoetrope in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. It was a true highlight for me even over the course of a week long trip that involved plenty of famed lost Japanese distilleries: Hanyu, Kawasaki, Kuruizawa, etc.
A modern pioneer and spearheading the re-birth of Japanese whiskey Ichiro breaks the Japanese blending model while adhering to traditional malting tactics and slow aging in large barrels from his own cooperage. In addition, he kept the barrel strength integrity of this blend unlike most expressions in the Ichiro Malt range.
A spirit of wonderful balance, yet profound flavor intensity that is certainly not adverse to a touch of water. Neither malt out shined the other, the ripe orchard fruit of quince, pear, and green apple speaks to a wonderful Speyside whisky supported by the honeycomb, camphor and mild eucalyptus of Chichibu. Japanese oak shows well on this foundation with the pleasant spice of incense, graham cracker and galangal. A very special dram!