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Japanese Whisky Dictionary

Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries Chichibu x Komagatake 2021

Article first published by our partner, Japanese Whisky Dictionary. Visit them here. Find the original article here.

 

 

This is a blended malt whisky made by exchanging the raw materials of Chichibu Distillery and Shinshu Mars Distillery. This is the first initiative of its kind in the Japanese whisky industry.

The Chichibu distillery started operations in 2008 and the Honbo Shuzo Mars Shinshu distillery resumed distilling in 2011.

This project was started in the hope that the exchange of raw spirits, which is commonly done in Scotland, could be realized in Japan.

This project, launched by two highly motivated distilleries in pursuit of new possibilities for Japanese whisky, began six years ago in April 2015 with the exchange of each other’s raw spirits (new pots).

The Chichibu distillery is rich in nature, with the benefit of the Arakawa River and the temperature differences unique to the basin, while the Mars Shinshu distillery is surrounded by beautiful forests at the foot of Mount Komagatake in the Central Alps.

The raw materials that were matured in these two different environments were blended in each place and expressed as a new character.

The soft and transparent fruity taste, and the layers of aroma carefully layered little by little, create a depth that can be felt slowly over time.

It is bottled with a high alcohol content, non-chill filtered, and natural color to take advantage of its characteristics.

This is a bottle filled with the charm and potential of Japanese whisky, which has many possibilities.

 

The Bottle

As a result of the joint project, the two companies exchanged the raw materials and matured them at the new pot stage, which broadened the range of expression for the brewers and enabled them to have a richer variety of raw materials. In addition, confirming changes over time during the maturation process provides experience and helps blenders and brewers to improve their skills.

We have a deep understanding of the characteristics of each other’s raw materials, and it is only through the presence of the raw materials of both companies that we have been able to express our tastes. Both companies have taken the first step to take on a new challenge to achieve the ideal taste, which was made possible by the mutually trustworthy quality of the raw materials of Ichirose Malt and Mars Whiskey.

The two companies hope that this initiative will bring new recognition to the diverse appeal of Japanese whiskey, and that the exchange of raw spirits between whiskey makers will lead to improvements in technical standards and quality, and provide an opportunity to further enhance the quality of Japanese whiskey. We will continue to exchange raw spirits in the future. Through this joint project, we hope that many people, including whiskey fans, will be able to learn about the new possibilities of Japanese whiskey and enjoy it.

 

  

Aroma Refreshing fruit aroma with a sweet maple syrup-like scent.
Taste A fruity sweetness like green apple, muscat and white peach stands out.
Aftertaste After the sweetness, it turns into a savory taste like burnt bread.

 

 

Alcohol content 53% alcohol by volume
by alcohol Blended malt
Barrel type
Contents 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited to 10,200 bottles
Suggested retail price 16,500 yen (tax included)
Release date April 2021

 

 

Our Take

The release of new products from the Saburoumaru Distillery and Nagahama Distillery on March 30, 2012, through an exchange of raw spirits, was also just a hot topic within the Japanese whiskey industry.

This time, the Komagatake x Chichibu blended malt was a joint project that had been underway since 2015, six years ago, and it seems to have been a new attempt after many years. While the exchange of malt has been a common practice in Scotland, it is an initiative that defies common sense, something that had never been considered in Japanese whisky before. A new history has been written in the history of Japanese whisky. I am sure that the Japanese whisky industry will become more and more exciting as more and more such efforts are made in the future.

At the moment, there are only a limited number of distilleries in Japan that can produce grain malt, but I am hopeful that the day when blended whisky can be produced by exchanging malt and grain malt is not far off.

 

 

(All Images Courtesy of JPWhisky.net)

 

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