Ichiro’s Malt Releases of 2016

Cask strength private bottlings of Pedro Ximenez sherry casks

2016 was a tremendous year for Ichiro’s Malt with numerous limited edition releases in addition to their standard output of the Leaf Series and Chichibu Series. The Monkey New Year bottle, available through Takashimaya department store, flew off the shelves, as no doubt will the Rooster in 2017.

At Chichibu, peaty whisky is produced only one month of the year, so you should be on the lookout for The Peated 2016 official bottling. In Japan it generally retails for about 9,900 Yen but is usually $250 in the US. There were also some private smoky bottlings: Peated from Modern Malt Whisky Market (328 bottles, cask number 2078) and Heavily Peated (with a Cigar label) (182 bottles). La Maison du Whisky put out two Hannya Mask editions: a peated ex-Hanyu hogshead (61.3%) and a bourbon barrel (61.5%).

Speaking of bourbon barrels, there were plenty of treats: Malt Dream Cask “Who Are You?” (61.7%, 194 bottles, cask number 547); Septem Peccata Mortalia (Seven Deadly Sins), a seven-year old, for Nishiya Liquor Store (62.2%, 197 bottles, cask number 183); Akita-ya (59%, 260 bottles, cask number 4083) and a Whisky Exchange exclusive bottle (61.4%, cask number 633).

For sherry cask aficionados, three consecutively numbered Pedro Ximenez casks were released, by Seibu Rail (Fifty-two Seats of Happiness, 59.4%, 328 bottles, cask number 2628), Modern Malt Whisky Market (59.4%, 316 bottles, cask number 2629) and Blackadder (59.7%, 311 bottles, cask number 2630). Each is six years old and bottled at cask strength. They’re all superb so don’t hesitate to try them if you come across them at better whisky bars around Japan.

There were special bottlings for whisky events: the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri (61%, 282 bottles, mizunara cask number 1431), the Fukuoka Whisky Talk, and the Tokyo International Bar Show Whisky Expo.

There was another official Fifteen year-old Hanyu release, 3710 bottles at 46.5%, with the right to buy offered through ballots at, for example, The Whisky Exchange.

While this is not an exhaustive list, you should also be on the lookout for these 2016 releases:

Asta Morris release (the company of malt maniac Bert Bruyneel) virgin hogshead five year old (52.3%, 380 bottles, cask number 702).

Gasai Chichibu X Hanyu Cask Strength for Mitsukoshi/Isetan department store (59.0%, 212 bottles).

Shinanoya Highlander Inn (61.3%, 210 bottles, cask number 710).

Kiyosato Field Ballet 27th Anniversary (48%, Kawasaki grain and Hanyu blend).

Chichibu “Malt Dream Cask” for Bar Kitchen (62.2%, 196 bottles, cask number 540) .

HBA (Hotel Barmens’ Association, 328 bottles, Oloroso sherry cask number 2623).

Spirits for Small Change (60.1%, only 26 bottles).

Malt and Grain for Maruhiro (59%, 273 bottles).

Malt and Grain for Bonyo Shuten, Fukuoka (250 bottles).

dsc06707Karada o ai suru shokuhin tanbou Genshu 2016S (for summer)

Karada o ai suru shokuhin tachi Genshu 2016W (for winter)

What can we look forward to in 2017 and beyond? Certainly a bottle for the Year of the Rooster and a selection of sherry and bourbon casks. And possibly a rum cask, which I saw on a recent trip to the distillery. Won’t that be amazing?

Rum casks from Barbados at the Chichibu warehouse

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