In November 2020 Chichibu released The First Ten, its first installment of a 10 year old core range expression. The distillery is so popular that ‘core range’ doesn’t mean it’s readily available of course.
Some of the malt used to distill this 10 Year Old was also grown in Chichibu. Other than that, not much information is given about cask types and such.
Chichibu 10 yo ‘The First Ten’ (50,5%, OB 2020, 5000 btl.)
Nose: pure barley aromas with hints of juniper, star anise, freshly cut grass and some peach and green banana in the background. Quite scented and floral – quite oriental in a way. Hints of sandalwood. Cake dough with vanilla. Grapefruit peels and lemon juice. It’s a very pure, yet rather unique profile.
Mouth: eucalyptus tea, caraway seeds, more of this gin-like juniper character, with ginger cake and the bitter edge of citrus peels. Quite grippy, with a little chlorophyl, fresh oak shavings, white pepper and some coconut flakes. Mineral hints. Little fruits to be found now, except for some green banana hints.
Finish: rather long, with a mineral and slightly floral woody side.
The balance is right and it shows a proper distillery character. Would I buy it for the original price of +/- 160 euros? Probably. Do I think auction prices are justified based on the drinker’s value? No, no. Sold out (unless you’re willing to pay crazy markups). However The Whisky Exchange is still offering (rare) samples and I think any serious whisky aficionado should have tried at least one Chichibu like this.