CHICHIBU Ichiro's Malt - MWR Pure Malt Whisky 700ml

New CHICHIBU Ichiro's Malt - MWR Pure Malt Whisky 700ml


CHICHIBU Ichiro's Malt - MWR (Mizunara Wood Reserve) Pure Malt Whisky (700 ml / 46%) 

The eponymous brand name refers to Ichiro Akuto – grandson of the founder of the fabled Hanyu distillery (which shuttered production in 2000). Ichiro later founded the Chichibu distillery nearby, and managed to save a number of Hanyu casks. His “Ichiro’s Malt” series typically involve vattings of both old Hanyu stock and new Chichibu production.

The Mizunara Wood Reserve (MWR) is distinctive because it is a vatting of malts that have all been aged in Japanese Mizunara oak casks (Quercus mongolica). 

Mizunara wood aging to date has been through blended whiskies, where only a proportion of the final product was aged in these casks (such as the Hibiki Harmony). Ichiro’s Malt MWR is thus an opportunity to try and dissect out the specific contribution of Mizunara wood more directly.

A smooth, appley Japanese blended malt, almost certainly comprised of Hanyu & Chichibu (where it was matured, vatted and bottled). In a move that will likely enrage the more pernickety of the lickspittle jobsworths at the SWA, this has included the supposedly-not-allowed-anymore 'pure malt' term on its label. Naughty!

Nose: Very floral and fragrant, with both woody and incense notes (“sandalwood” is often cited, which fits). Some grassiness, but again tending to the more sweet and fragrant aromas (mint?). It has a strong honeyed sweetness. Strong citrus presence, especially lemon peel and grapefruit. Some sweet apple. Pleasant, with very sharp and clear scents.

Palate: Tangy and spicy upfront, with a peppery kick. The honey and fruity sweetness is there from the start – with caramelized apple and citrus. Woodiness comes up fast though, with some sour and bitter notes. This sharp bitterness is reminiscent of some lightly smokey whiskies – but it is definitely more heavily pronounced on the MWR. Think sucking on a grapefuit that had sugar sprinkled on it – fruity sweetness upfront, followed by persistent bitterness (especially if you chew on the rind!). Some ginger too. Surprisingly light body overall, given the relatively high ABV (46%).

Finish: Relatively short. Not much going on here, except some lingering sweetness and peppery spiciness trying to cover up the woody bitterness.


Brewery's Name: Chichibu

Production Country : Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Alcohol Content : 46%


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Tags: Whisky, Chichibu