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 On The Way Single Malt Japanese Whisky is a perfect example of Chichibu’s perfected balance of malt, fruit and spice. The nose shines with dried orange and caramel, fruit spice and a delicious light woodiness. Apples, pear skin, cereal and maple syrup notes mingle on the palate with classic malty oak tannins and a touch of vanilla. A chewy, lingering nutty finish in all the best ways with soft notes of leather and oak.