Colour: Old Gold.
Nose: A few left over stewed apples, basket of citrus and tropical fruit as well, grassy notes, almonds, whispers of malt and Kraft light caramel squares.
Taste: Flourishes of pepper with fruit sweetness and grain spiciness jockeying for position,
Finish: Medium short. Short and quick on the tongue, hangs around a little longer at the back of the throat.
Steven Wright dryly quipped: “It’s a small world but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”. True, that would be a long summer job. Today, it’s still that same world; however, someone did manage to bottle it: Ichiro’s Malt & Grain World Blended Whisky. This expression comes from the fertile mind of Chichibu’s founder and Master Distiller – Ichoru Akuto.
So… “world whisky”. Is this purely a marketing ploy? A bold experiment in terror? A bit of column A and column B? Full frontal, I thought the idea of combining the Big 5 Whisky makers was cool. Also, if anyone could take such different malt and grain whiskies from around the world and make something of it, surely it must be Akuto-san. Whiskies from Ireland, Canada, the US and Scotland are initially aged for up to 5 years at home. Then, they are shipped to Chichibu for a little more time in their respective barrels. Finally, they all get to meet, including Ichoru’s Japanese whisky contributions.
Ichiro’s is distilled at 46% ABV so it’s nice that the final result as that extra step stool or boost to bring the flavours to say “Kon’nichiwa.”, “Dia dhuit.”, “Hou are ye?”, “Hey.”, And “Hello/Bonjour.” Yes, that is a mouthful even before your first mouthful. As I approach for a nosing, my whisky geek was ready to take notes about which part of the world caught its attention. With the first flavours coming through on the nosing, I thrust my metaphorical pen aside. Enjoy first; whisky geek later. Anyway, two bowls of fruit showed up immediately – one being citrusy with a few extra lemons and the other laid nicely with tropical fruits. The Kraft caramel squares were the tasty, gooey pots that kept the fruits from bumping into each other. As mentioned in the dram-sized notes above, fruitiness and grain spiciness politely try to elbow their way in to introduce themselves to your taste buds. Your tongue has a brief flirt with pepper but not long enough to exchange phone numbers. Lastly, the finish is warm and polite and medium in length so it doesn’t get too comfortable back there on the chair sofa with its feet up.
I didn’t know what to expect when I sampled Ichiro’s. It’s one thing to have a holiday booked to visit several whisky countries. It’s another when your whisky vacation is literally in one glass. Still though, I enjoyed the trip it took me on from start to finish. This whisky has a lot of history and heritage behind (and in) it. I don’t see it as strictly a marketing ploy; but rather, a meeting of like-minded friends. It may not be the most memorable meeting but it was definitely pleasant and welcoming with no flavour trying to yell over another one. And, just like any vacation, you may not want to buy premium airfare but it is worth exploring if there’s a whisky seat sale. Cheers.