Chichibu London Edition 2021

Chichibu London Edition 2021

I’ve been on quite a long vacation in Greece which means everything had to be scheduled a long time ago and there were very few ‘trending’ reviews recently. With lots of samples waiting on my desk, it’s time to up the game a little and look at what is hot off the press bottling line.

We start with this Chichibu London Edition 2021. It ought to be a Whisky Show bottling but it didn’t arrive in time for the show. This release is a combination of 3 casks of unpeated and 4 casks of peated whisky from Chichibu distillery in Japan, all first-fill ex-bourbon casks except for one refill cask. The result is 5-6 years old.

Festival attendees have had a chance to buy a bottle first, and the remaining bottles are now sold in an online ballot at The Whisky Exchange.


Chichibu London Edition 2021 (51,5%, OB for The Whisky Show 2021, peated + unpeated, bourbon barrels, 1859 btl.)

Nose: starts in a full and aromatic way, while the peat is kept at bay (for now). It has these typical oriental notes of sandalwood and star anise – nice. Citrus fruits, as well as some honey and eucalyptus oil. Pencils. Lots of crushed leaves, forest vegetation and growing hints of iodine and peat (Ardmore style I’d say). Something of a dry sauna too. A little tight, like most (young) Chichibus, but very high quality.

Mouth: now more Caol Ila style, with a medium peatiness and citrus fruits behind it. Lime and white stone fruit, with a pinch of salt as well as some dried herbs. Also tiny notes of mezcal and aromatic cedar, with some liquorice and cinnamon. Very faint floral touches as well (in between juniper berries and potpourri) which makes it all the more Japanese to me.

Finish: quite long, on citrus rind, flowery notes, with some salt and just a light touch of grassy bitterness.

This comes close to Caol Ila in some respects, in the best way possible. It also manages to include this peculiar oriental touch – something floral and herbal. Rather great, regardless of the age. If you fancy this, enter the ballot (only until tonight) or try a 3cl sample.