Chichibu Whisky Matsuri 2022 Festival Bottlings
The famed Chichibu Shrine. (Image Source: Fun! Japan)
Chichibu is not just famous for the namesake whisky distillery, it is also home to the Chichibu Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in the Kanto region, which has a history going back an astounding 2,000 years.
The Shinto shrine is known for its intricate carvings across the main hall and depictions of mystical and fabled creatures from dragons to tigers and monkeys. It serves to enshrine several gods and was refurbished to its current architecture in 1592.
One of the biggest festivals in Japan, the fireworks, performances and music are a huge draw. (Image Source: GaijinPot Blog)
What is even more popular is the Chichibu Night Festival or Chichibu Yomatsuri which is a night festival that started some 300 years ago and features an elaborate float festival, amongst the most famous alongside Kyoto's Gion Festival and the Hida Takayama Festival.
To commemorate the shrine, floats, kabuki and kagura performances, traditional festival music and grand fireworks are held, attracting some 200,000 visitors from all over Japan and even internationally.
The fun starts in December and continues all the way till February when we have the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri. (Image Source: Japan Travel)
This all started wit the festival originating in the middle of the Edo period with the silk market (another heritage tradition Chichibu Prefecture is known for) opening up on the grounds of the Chichibu Shrine. As a result, much of the colors of the festival are also inspired by the traditional Chichibu silk crafts.
While the main Chichibu Night Festival is usually held in December, another major festival is held annually in February in Chichibu - the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri. Each year, the Chichibu Prefecture hosts a popular whisky festival called the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri Festival that also centers itself around the fabled Chichibu Shrine, the tasting hosted on the main center stage. Something that is always looked forward to are the private bottlings for the event. This attracts some 3,000 visitors from all around the world to try some spectacular whiskies.
Each year, the Chichibu Whiskey Festival Executive Committee is charged with selecting private bottlings to commemorate the festival.
This year, five bottles were selected:
- Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, distilled in 2016, bottled in 2021, 5 Years Old, aged in American Virgin Oak, 62.5% ABV
- Blended Malt Sherry Cask Chichibu Whiskey Festival Band Label, bottled by The WhiskyFind, NAS, 62.7% ABV
- Glenfarclas Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, distilled in 2006, bottled in 2022, 15 Years Old, aged in Refill Sherry Hogshead #2623, 59.0% ABV
- Yamazakura Azumi Double Barrel, Asaka Distillery, distilled in 2017, bottled in 2022, 5 Years Old, aged in Bourbon Barrel, Cask #17128/17130, 52% ABV
- Mars Tsunuki, Hombo Shuzo, distilled in 2016, bottled in 2021, 5 Years Old, aged in Rum Cask, 57% ABV
Let's dig into 'em!
Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, distilled in 2016, bottled in 2021, 5 Years Old, aged in American Virgin Oak, 62.5% ABV
Gorgeous wheat backed by the sweetness of honey.
The first bottle of bottling in 2022 was selected from our private bottle and one barrel from Ireland Teeling, which produces many high quality bottling. This raw liquor was produced at the Teeling Distillery itself, which opened in 2015.
Original whisky that was mainstream until the 1960s, but now blended is the mainstream, and is produced by traditional triple distillation using pot stills, which are now rare. The recipe of 50% barley malt and 50% ungerminated malt (Burleigh) is adopted, showing the potential to expect the future leap of Irish whiskey.
This is one that you should definitely enjoy the gorgeous barley feeling that is different from the "tropy" Irish and Scotch whiskey that have been attracting attention in recent years.
Priced at 12,650 JPY or 106.80 USD.
Blended Malt Sherry Cask Chichibu Whiskey Festival Band Label, bottled by The WhiskyFind, NAS, 62.7% ABV
Diversity composed of blends.
The popular Chichibu Whiskey Festival band label secured by THE WHISKYFIND and delivered with the cooperation of the authorized distributor Kimura.
This year's one is a blended malt that is distilled in each region and aged in sherry bats with different lengths of aging.
The bottles created by Odin Chou, the representative of THE WHISKEY FIND, will be delivered to the Asian market this year as well.
The recipe for blended is Bunnahabhain aged for 3 years, Ledaig Tomartin Tamdhu aged for 12-15 years, and NAS (aged years not disclosed) because each age is different.
The undiluted whisky that has been married in sherry casks after being blended, combined with the strength of high-proof bottling, has achieved excellent cost performance and is a casual and enjoyable finish that you will not get tired of drinking.
This year, in the blended harmony that leads to the band, the individuality of each raw whisky can be glimpsed everywhere, which is reminiscent of even the characters of each member of the band.
This time, it is one that teaches us the real thrill and fun of blended.
Priced at 9,900 JPY or 83.60 USD.
Priced at 27,995 JPY or 236.40 USD.
Priced at 14,850 JPY or 125.40 USD.
Tasting comment by Tsuyoshi Hokkaji
This time, carefully selected from 20 kinds of samples was Lamb Cask raw liquor, which was also adopted as a constituent raw liquor in the latest official release "Edition 2022".
Priced at 14,850 JPY or 125.40 USD.
How to get them
The bottles go on sale from 12:00 PM Tokyo Time on 18 March, 2022.
The Teeling, Glenfarclas and the Blended Malt Sherry Cask bottlings will all be available for sale across local Japanese distributors from 12:00 PM Tokyo Time on 18 March, 2022.
Take note that the Teeling will be shipped in May 2022, the Glenfarclas will be shipped in July 2022, and the Blended Malt Sherry Cask will be shipped in March 2022.
The Yamazakura and the Mars Tsuniki bottlings will be sold via lottery. Applications will be accepted from 12:00 - 23:59 on 18 March, 2022. The winners will be notified via email on the same day. The bottles will be delivered from the 25 March, 2022.
This only available for participants with a local Japan address.
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