Ichiro’s Malt Wine Wood
Ichiro’s Malt Wine Wood Reserve includes malt distilled at the now-closed Hanyu distillery. This was matured – including a finishing period in French oak ex-wine casks – vatted and bottled at Chichibu.
Ichiro Akuto is the founder of the Chichibu distillery and not just one of the most respected distillers in Japan, but also an experienced blender. Ichiro’s Malt WineWood Reserve is a blend of malt whisky from Chichibu and the closed Hanyu distillery (in decreasing amounts over the years).
This is finished in a wine casks, the rather unique Ovum casks, which are 20 hl egg-shaped barrels made from French oak, shaped in the Charentes region by the Taransaud company. They are typically used in the Bordeaux region where they have some oenological advantages, but never in whisky.
Nose: initially very vinous indeed, like a Bordeaux finish. This leads to black cherries, blackberry jam, yellow apples. Hints of violets and toffee. A little chocolate. Black liquorice. Also a certain leathery or fragrant side (oriental spices).
Mouth: going further on baked apples and blackberries. Caramel coated nuts, plenty of peppery notes, cinnamon and a touch of anise. The wine is still very obvious, with light tannins, but certainly not overdone.
Finish: medium, on sweet wine and chocolate, with drying spices in the very end.
Japanese whisky with a strong wine impact, but within this category quite successful (I often have trouble with red wine finishes).
Discontinued Supply on the international market. This bottle has doubled in value on European Auction sites in about 4 months (£85 in November 2018, to £170 by March 2019 on Whisky Auctioneer)