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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

November 9, 2020


Another wee bag of high-flying Chichibu

How do you say ‘wee’ in Japanese? (UPDATE, that's 'oshikko', thank you xdo!) We’ll sort these Chichibus by ascending strength by the way, not sure that makes too much sense but there…




Chichibu ‘Paris Edition 2020’ (52.8%, OB, for LMDW, 1831 bottles)

Chichibu ‘Paris Edition 2020’ (52.8%, OB, for LMDW, 1831 bottles)
Probably a 7 years old. This is a small batch of 8 casks, quite a recipe by the way. Imagine, one 2013 first fill bourbon peated, three 2013 virgin oak, one  2013 Port pipe, two 2014 quarter casks and one 2014 red wine casks. Are you following? Last year’s Paris Edition had been pretty fantastic in my opinion (WF 90). Colour: deep gold. Nose: smart, very smart, and complex, very complex. After all, this is a self-blended malt, is it not. I couldn’t list all aromas I’m finding – and WF is too cluttered anyway – but I’ll simply mention peonies, chlorophyll, eucalyptus, beeswax, dried banana, honeysuckle and lime blossom, some chalk and some clay, custard, clover honey, old chardonnay… and myriads of other small smells. Rather flabbergasting. Oh, and smart. With water: gets narrower and tighter but in a wonderful manner, with more chalk, vanilla, crushed slate, and yes, chardonnay. Just south of Beaune! Mouth (neat): a bit tougher on the palate, spicier than expected, rustic for sure, leafy and leathery… I’m wondering if that’s not the Port and the red wine’s tannicity. Water should help… With water: it does, it makes it rather better focused, although I’m still finding a little sour wood. Custard, fresh oak, banana, raisins, drops of latte… I really like it, but I think I like the more vertical, tighter Chichibus even better. Finish: medium, on pretty much the same flavours, with an unexpected feeling of vin jaune and leaves (cherry, peach). Comments: absolutely excellent for certain, but I’m not sure the red wines didn’t bother me a wee bit on the palate. That’s me.
SGP:461 - 87 points.




Chichibu ‘London Edition 2020’ (53.5%, OB, for The Whisky Exchange, 1736 bottles)Chichibu ‘London Edition 2020’ (53.5%, OB, for The Whisky Exchange, 1736 bottles)

Chichibu ‘London Edition 2020’ (53.5%, OB, for The Whisky Exchange, 1736 bottles) Four stars and a half
A vatting of seven casks this time, mostly refill bourbon barrels, some having had their heads replaced with new mizunara oak as I understand it. So no red wine this time, but they have Boris J.. You can’t have it both ways, I suppose. Colour: straw. Nose: tighter, more intense as well, more millimetric, slightly mentholy and camphory, with a simpler but maybe better defined profile. Sour fruits, sauvignon blanc rather than chardonnay, green walnuts, grass… With water: an excellent Sancerre, perhaps from Chavignol. Mouth (neat): works for me. Slight smoke, brine, olives, leaves, eucalyptus tea, grapefruits, more sauvignon blanc… No long literature needed here. With water: more of all that, with a little more chlorophyl. I suppose that’s the mizunara. Finish: rather long, tight, lemony and grassy, with touches of salted chocolate and a little mint. Smoked mint? Comments: clean and tight, with no unnecessary extra-flavours in the way. That’s my preferred way. On the other hand, they have Boris.
SGP:562 - 89 points.




Chichibu 10 yo (56.5%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist #10, bourbon barrel, cask #423, 164 bottles)

Chichibu 10 yo (56.5%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist #10, bourbon barrel, cask #423, 164 bottles)
A little birdie told me this was a 2009. Expectations are higher this time, as this is a proper unadulterated barrel… Colour: gold. Nose: you bet. Focaccia dough, asparagus and a tiny olive, custard, acacia blossom, zucchini flower, fresh brioche… Well this is just otherworldly so far. A natural beauty, as they say in Hollywood. With water: mangos, sunflower and olive oils, crushed macadamias, eucalyptus, lime blossom… I find this absolulety stunning. I mean, absolutely. Mouth (neat): of course. Crushed bananas, touches of violets, custard, many breads and doughs, croissants, a little wax, some good earth, the obligatory drop of miso… Perfection incarnated in my faithful tulip glass. With water: you’ll find all these tiny metallic, mineral and earthy touches that make the greatest malt whiskies. Finish: rather long, a tad grassier, earthy, with oils and a few flower extracts… Isn’t that borage? Comments: this is of Old Clynelish quality, if you ask me. It’s just a wee tad young(ish). Hope they’ll keep a few early barrels until at least 2025.
SGP:561 - 92 points.




I’ve read my horoscope this morning. “More ex-bourbon Chichibu for you”, it said…

Chichibu 2008/2018 (60.8%, OB, Malt Dream Cask, for Bar Tee-Airigh, bourbon barrel, cask #180, 183 bottles)

Chichibu 2008/2018 (60.8%, OB, Malt Dream Cask, for Bar Tee-Airigh, bourbon barrel, cask #180, 183 bottles) Five stars
This is where you learn that the barley was Optic. All right then. Colour: gold. Nose: things are a bit more complicated at this high strength, but the overall feelings are pretty positive. Custard, good sawdust, melons and peaches, acacia honey and just a drop of cellulosic varnish. No worries, that’s the high strength… With water: oh good, tangerines, bananas, custard, panettone, dandelions, Danishes, orange blossom water. Mouth (neat): too strong and a tad rubbery this far. Water please… With water: success. Orange juice, touch of ginger, cider, grape pip oil, funny notes of kiwis… Finish: pretty long and rather all on greener fruits, rhubarb juice, more kiwis, gooseberries… Grapefruits in the aftertaste. Comments: that one was pretty citrusy and almost citric when watered down. And very clean. I find it excellent, but do not even consider tackling it without a proper quantity of H2O. Excellently tart, really.
SGP:561 - 90 points.

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB, for Selfridges, cask #2074, 200 bottles)

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB, for Selfridges, cask #2074, 200 bottles) Five stars
For Selfridges, really? This baby first spent a large part of its life in an ex-Hanyu cask (did you hear there were plans to re-start Hanyu?) and was then transferred to a refill Chichibu hogshead. In Scotland some would call this ‘a family cask’ for lesser reasons. Colour: bright straw. Nose: peat, loud and clear. I suppose the last cask had sheltered some peated Chichibu. Tar, hessian, seaweed fire, Worcester sauce, brine, chillies, black olives… This is not what I was expecting at all, but I am a fan. With water: even more clean and bright peat. Wait, wasn’t this peated Chichibu in the first place? Vicks VapoRub, brine, oysters, tar, sea air, ‘a walk on the beach’, etcetera. Mouth (neat): burns you a wee bit -Selfridges, really? – and displays an Ardbeggy side that’s pretty obvious to me. Tarmac, hessian, old engine, kelp, seawater… But boy is it strong! With water: tar, liquorice, lemon liqueur, salt, a little cardamom. The closest thing to Ardbeg is Ardbeg – barely (S., that doesn’t make any sense). Finish: long, clean, smoky, salty, very coastal. Notes of passion fruits and grapefruits in the aftertaste. Pink pepper too. Comments: so I suppose it was a peated Chichibu (I’m telling you, Einstein reincarnated!) I’m glad we had it as the last one within this wee session. Great young peater.
SGP:556 - 90 points.

(Thank you mucho, Dornoch Castle and Whisky Bar and Friendship Dispensers!)

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