It all started some three centuries ago when the first of Ichiro Akuto’s forefathers began making alcoholic beverages in Saitama Prefecture. His grandfather began making whisky in the mid-1940’s with Hanyu Distillery, whose focus on malt whiskies took off with the Japanese economic boom of the 1980s. However, when the bubble burst in the 1990s, so too did the first Japanese Whisky boom, leading to Hanyu—like several other distillers—shuttering their doors. Ichiro saved his grandfather’s old inventory and subsequently released the Playing Card series. This collection, which debuted to a slow start in the early 2000s, is now considered unicorn whisky, the stuff of legend. With the success of the playing cards, Ichiro saw that the Japanese whisky revival was imminent and in 2008 he built his current distillery in Chichubu. Chichubu distillery is where Ichiro, a 21st-century whisky-maker, embraces the heritage and heart of the Scots, balanced by the precision of the Japanese, and the shokunin philosophy.
Chichibu Distillery Ichiro’s Malt The US Edition 2021 Single Malt Japanese Whisky is an annual US-exclusive release of Single Malt Japanese Whisky distilled and aged at Chichibu Distillery. It was matured in new American oak, 1st-fill bourbon barrels, and new hogsheads. Nose of honey & dark cocoa, nutmeg & warm pear; tropical fruits flourish on the palate with layers of ripe guava and pineapple complemented by ginger and black peppercorn. Honey returns on the finish with a hint of peat. Non-chill filtered; 53.5% alc/vol. US Release of 2150 bottles