Chichibu distillery is the first distillery to open in Japan since 1973. It was founded in 2004 in Chichibu city, Japan, by Ichiro Akuto, grand-son of the Hanyu distillery founder.
Akuto's family has produced Sake for four centuries, and also opened the Hanyu distillery in 1941. All of this accumulated knowledge (and sipping experience) has made it possible for Ichiru Akuto to produce complex, and very intriguing Whisky despite its lack of maturity.
The blended Whisky from Chichibu tends to be fruity, mostly on tropical side, with distinct grain and botanical notes. Their unpeated malt Whiskies generally have a sweet and buttery character, with nutty and vanilla notes. Their peated Whiskies are strong and powerful with toffee and earthy notes.
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An egg shaped marriage barrel from the famous French cooperage Taransaud, is now in the distillery and is used to marry Whiskies.
Akuto is now trying to produce a 100% Japanese single malt Whisky. He is working with Japanese producers to get barley and casks.
One month a year, a peated new make spirit is produced with 50ppm of peated barley.
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Chichibu is situated around 100km north-west of Tokyo, on a small hill about half-an-hour’s drive from the center of Chichibu City. The area faces extreme weather conditions, very hot and humid summers, and -10 degrees Celcius winters.
Chichibu was founded in 2004, and became operational by 2008 under Ichiro Akuto, who is the grandson of the founder of the closed distillery, Hanyu. After working at Suntory, Akuto decided to create a 100% Japanese Whisky brand, from the barley to the wood.
A small portion of barley used in Chichibu is malted on site. But most of their non-peated barley comes from England and Germany, and their peated barley is imported from Scotland. There are 8 washbacks of specialty Mizunara oak, which are quite expensive.
The 2000 liter copper pot stills from Scotland are heated by steam. There are 2 warehouses that can hold up to 1500 casks each. Different cask types are used for maturing such as Sherry, Port Wine, Mizunara, Bourbon and even French Wine barrels.
TypeSingle malt/ blended/ grain
Address49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan