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Chichibu to launch ‘London-exclusive’ whisky

Japanese distillery Chichibu is to launch three limited edition expressions over the coming months: a whisky finished in ‘beer-washed’ barrels, a ‘London-exclusive’ bottling and a peated variant.

The Chichibu IPA Cask Finish 2017 is one of three new expressions.

London will be receiving its own release, currently with the working title of Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu London Exclusive. The expression will be available in early 2018.

Bottled at 60.9% abv, it is a vatting of whiskies aged in four Bourbon barrels with an age between five and eight years. It is described in-house as “the classic Chichibu house style”.

Given tasting notes include “honey and oatcakes, toffee, Werther’s Originals and a smattering of paprika and chilli”.

Bottled at 57.5% abv, the Chichibu IPA Cask Finish 2017 will be launched before Christmas with a release of 6,700 bottles. The spirit has been developed in conjunction with an unnamed Japanese craft brewer.

Original barrels from Chichibu were sent to the brewer, which used them to age their beers before returning the “beer-washed” barrels to the original company, which were then filled with whisky for between six months and three years for a period of extra-maturation.

It is described as having a “golden nose”, with a palate of “honey and lemon, and fresh hop characters from the IPA”. There is a “grapefruit bitterness” to the finish, with a “lightly numbing sansho pepper influence”.

The third whisky is Chichibu the 2016 Peated (54.5% abv), which is a dry four-year-old whisky, with notes on the nose of “oatcake, burning wet wood, honeydew melon, lime and TCP”. It is described as “relatively light” with a “chalky texture and flavour”.

Yumi Yoshikawa, brand ambassador of the Chichibu Distillery said of the launch: “We haven’t got any single malt regular products yet, so it would be nice if we could launch something even only for London.”

Chichibu also suggested further roll outs for other city-specific whiskies, but no details had been decided on yet: “We will produce little by little even if it’s only for some specific cities.”

Japanese whisky continues to rise in popularity, and was the focus of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival earlier this year.

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