I’m a big fan of Chichibu, as most of you know by now. But what I’ve always overlooked is the Ichiro’s Malt & Grain, a blended whisky created by Chichibu’s founder and master blender Ichiro Akuto. Why? No idea actually, I have never tasted this before or maybe just once, a very long time ago (I can vaguely remember having tasted this one at a festival). Anyway, time to change that!

Ichiro’s Malt & Grain has been around for many years, the first release was released in 2011 (according to Whiskybase) and since then many editions have been released. It’s not just any Japanese blend, or actually, it’s not a Japanese blend at all … It’s a world blended whisky, so it also contains whisky from other countries. In the case of the Malt & Grain, it means that in addition to Chichibu it also contains whiskies sourced from distilleries in the United States, Canada, Scotland and Ireland. However, which distilleries these are remains a mystery…

This Ichiro’s Malt & Grain is bottled at 46% ABV.

Ichiro’s Malt & Grain tasting notes:

Nose: rather fresh and delicate. It’s somewhat restrained at first, but after some time it starts to open up. Vanilla and some coconut in the back. A floral note. Pears and lemons. Then after some time, I get some kind of floral honey. This is followed by bananas. And then also a light glue note.

Taste: it’s rather creamy. Pears and vanilla here as well. Toffee. Kiwi. and honey. Then green bananas. Later it also gets somewhat spicy too: pink peppercorns, ginger and cinnamon.

Finish: mid-long to long. Vanilla and bananas. And a hint of the same spices as on the palate, but those come more to the front here, especially the pink peppercorns.

At first, I thought that it wasn’t very complex, but now that I have tasted it more often I have to adjust my opinion a bit. It has a very nice nose and although you might think the palate is a bit creamy and smooth (Oh, I said smooth) at first, that really changes after a few sips. There are quite a few spices, which provide a nice kick and which keep lingering in the finish. A very entertaining blend that really needs some time to develop.

Bottle provided by Salud Distribution.