For the Chichibu drinker and collector, the past couple of months has been a whirlwind, with bottles for the Japanese, European and U.S. markets.
The Chichibu X Hanyu release for Stefan Van Eycken’s Ghost Series was very well received at the Tokyo Whisky Festival in late November. Bottled at 61.3%, rich fruits, cacao and dark chocolate abound on the palate. Only 129 bottles were produced so this is gold.
In Japan, recent releases are Friends of Mahorobi for the excellent bar in Nagano prefecture. A 55% bourbon barrel with an out-turn of 224 bottles. The amusing label shows puffins and a rabbit sitting at a bar, with an envious cat and dog looking up. The bar owner, Horiuchi-san doesn’t like smoking in his bar, hence no puffing!
Acorn produced another Chichibu Specification, a 7-year bourbon barrel at 60.8% ABV with an out-turn of 203 bottles.
Shinanoya delivered a 64.1% ABV 6-year bourbon barrel Chichibu. This is the 200th bottle that the retailer has privately released (not the 200th Chichibu). It was available by lottery only.
Incidentally these are available to taste at the leading whisky bars in Japan, including Bar Kitchen in Fukuoka.
Takashimaya has released two more bottles by lottery: another Cigar Malt peated single cask and the 2019 Year of the Boar bottle.
There were two Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) Chichibu single-cask bottles. 130.2 is Tropical Thunder. 130.3 is Bamboo Wood and Cherry Blossom.
In Europe, La Maison du Whisky offered four single casks, including a unique Stout Cask Finish. As word spread like wildfire though Facebook, the LMDW site crashed, leaving lots of fans empty-handed.
Additionally LMDW released a Paris Edition and London Edition. These are both vattings of several casks at single-cask prices. Needless to say, they are already going for silly prices online.
A real curiosity is Dr Jekyll’s Expression Of Chichibu, a 7-year sherry hogshead bottled at 59.6% for a bar in Norway, Dr Jekyll’s Pub. With an out-turn of 286 bottles, but with only 107 available for the general public, you will be lucky to get your mitts on this.
In the United States, the aptly named US Edition, another vatting of casks, has just been released, with a bunch of photos appearing on Facebook already.
Finally, after all those single casks and vattings of five or six casks, there is a Chichibu that is relatively straightforward to get with its out-turn of 11,500: The Peated 2018. The price is 12,960 Yen including tax.
Good luck hunting, everyone!