One review to end the week as we look at a single cask Chichibu.
Chichibu Independent Whisky Bars Of Scotland Cask #3900
Price: ~£16.00 per dram
This release was distilled in 2012 and matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel until its bottling in 2022 by the Independent Whisky Bars of Scotland. This group includes The Ardshiel Hotel in Campbeltown, The Bon Accord in Glasgow, The Malt Room in Inverness, Artisan Restaurant in Wishaw, The Highlander Inn in Craigellachie, Dornoch Castle Hotel in Dornoch, Fiddlers Highland Restaurant in Drumnadrochit, and The Ensign Ewart in Edinburgh. A limited run of just 166 bottles were released, which, to our knowledge, will be sold exclusively by the dram at these member bars.
At first, the nose is somewhat muted, yet patience rewards us with notes of pepper, soda water, cashew nuts, chopped apples, and a refreshing crispness. On second nosing, we can strain to pick out vanilla essence, marshmallow, strawberry laces, and fresh raspberries. Even after ample time to open up in the glass, it remains a little challenging to pick out distinctive notes.
On first taste, the palate offers tangerines, caramel sauce, Cadbury's chocolate, a touch of dark chocolate bitterness, and ginger spice. Despite its high strength at 62.4%, it’s remarkably smooth. The texture is creamy, akin to single cream. Time in the glass reveals a subtle warehouse funk, concentrated orange, and simple syrup. Both the sweetness and spice are persistent on a good length finish.
Nose (with water)
After dilution, the nose remains subdued and may even seem more so with the addition of water. Upon revisiting, a faint chemical scent, reminiscent of bleach, becomes apparent. The previous note of strawberry laces has evolved into that of freshly chopped strawberries, accompanied by hints of leather and butter.
Palate (with water)
Adding water has introduced a kick of chilli spice to the palate, while the sweetness has taken on a one-dimensional quality that reminds us of flat cola. The texture is still pleasing, but the chilli heat persists alongside the sweetness in the finish. The flavours present before dilution are largely unchanged, but there's an additional hint of tobacco. We definitely enjoyed this more without water.
If we’re being honest, we can’t deny that Chichibu produces a quality spirit, but we do wonder why there’s such a cult following around it and not around other younger international distilleries like Penderyn, which also produces excellent whisky. Anyway, this is a solid bourbon cask release, but not much else.
We doubt Chichibu will ever be accused of being value for money.
- 10 - Perfection. One in a million
- 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
- 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
- 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
- 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
- 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
- 4 - Below average. Passable.
- 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
- 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
- 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.