It all started some three centuries ago when the first of Ichiro Akuto’s forefathers began making alcoholic beverages in Saitama Prefecture. His Grandfather began making whisky in the mid 1940’s with Hanyu Distillery, whose focus on malt whiskies took off with the Japanese economic boom of the 1980’s. However, when the bubble burst in the 1990’s, so too did the first Japanese Whisky boom, leading to Hanyu, like several other distillers, shuttering their doors. He saved the old inventory of Hanyu and released the playing card series. A slow start in the early 2000s now unicorn whisky, the stuff of legend. With the success of the playing cards Ichiro saw that the revival was imminent and in 2008 he built his current distillery in Chichubu. Chichubu distillery where Ichiro, a 21st century whisky maker embraces the heritage and heart of the Scotts balanced by the precision of the Japanese and the shokunin philosophy.
THE FLOOR MALTED, NAS 58.5% ABV
Distilled from barley floor malted by Akuto and his teams near annual trips to England Learning and constantly improving upon the art of floor-malting, aged 3-6 years in bourbon barrels. Bottle in January 2106.
Nose: honeysuckle, kiwi, vanilla cedar and citrus
Palate: creamy, tobacco, anise peach and spice
Finish: lingering vanilla and autumn spice
ICHIRO’S MALT AND GRAIN, NAS 46.5% ABV
In Ichiro’s words “An all world whisky” the key malt is Ichiro’s Malt, with his selection of Scotch, Irish, Canadian and American Whiskey aged in country 3-5 years and aged on sight in Chichibu an additional 1-3 years. Ichiro’s Malt and Grain is blended to balance a heart of Japanese whisky complimented by the major whiskies of the world.
Nose: apricot, popcorn toffee, vanilla cream, meyer lemon zest
Palate: light texture notes of toffee roasted chestnut gingerbread, vanilla and black pepper
Finish: medium-long with honey and black pepper