Ichiro's Malt Chichibu, On the Way 2019 (51.5%) - 89/100
The recent 2019 Ichiro's Malt Chichibu, On the Way release stands on the shoulders of giants - the extremely popular 2013 and 2015 releases, respectively. Don't ask me why there isn't a 2017 though...
Bottled at a whooping 51.5%, this bottle was bottled without an age statement (i.e NAS - no age statement) - a brave move in the Scotch universe, some might say (confidence or over confidence, you decide?). But word on the streets is that this contains the most aged whiskies amongst the On the Way releases (I am told/made to understand that this release is from a batch of 52 casks, all matured for between 5 and 10 years). Mostly ex-bourbon casks, but there are also some second-fill chibidaru casks thrown into the picture, as well as some hogsheads with mizunara (Japanese oak) heads and some peated whisky. One may say exciting, others may say confused.
As far as my memory goes, Chichibu has always been a cult whisky distillery, attracting no less than snaking queue(s) of eager customers (or punters, flippers, collectors?). But, fret not, this bottle is part of the plethora of Chichibu's official release. With over 11,000 bottles on earth, this is a bottle that is (more) readily available without you needing to sacrifice a leg/limb/kidney/spouse/marriage/4 X Clynelishes/bar owner finger pointing. So let's get on to the liquid goodness:
Nose: Spicy wood, oaky, creamy (cream cheese? smooth-ish coffee creme). Orange peel/dried oranges cuts through. Undertones of sweet/sugary applely goodness. Butter pastry notes emerges with time in the glass. Salivating...
Palate: Creamy, fruity, rounded. Apple, orange on the nose translates into the palate - with a tinge of grassiness at the end of the tongue. More and more stewed fruits as you take more sips... maybe I'm drunk.
Finish: Slight smoke? Slight char? Must be the peated whisky in the mix. Grassy vanilla, a tingly leathery end. If this is classic Chichibu moving forward, I am officially joining the snaking queue of eager customers (or get someone to queue for me? like an iphone? can you help me, I promise I will buy at cost :P).