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Chichibu whisky is a relatively new player in the world of whisky, but it has quickly gained a reputation for crafting exceptional and unique spirits. Located in the small town of Chichibu, Japan, this distillery is nestled among the mountains and surrounded by pristine nature, creating the perfect environment for whisky production.

The story of Chichibu whisky began in 2008 when Ichiro Akuto, the founder and master distiller, decided to establish his own distillery in his father’s old sake brewery. With a family legacy of over 350 years in the liquor industry, it was no surprise that Akuto had an innate passion for whisky-making. He spent his early career working at the legendary Hanyu distillery, gaining valuable experience and knowledge that would later be reflected in Chichibu whisky.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Chichibu whisky is its dedication to using local ingredients. The distillery sources barley, water, and peat locally, which adds a distinct character to their whiskies. The water used comes from a nearby river and is known for its purity, while the peat is from a local peat bog and adds a subtle smokiness to the whisky. This focus on using quality, local ingredients is a testament to Akuto’s commitment to creating a truly authentic and unique product.

Chichibu whisky also stands out for its small batch production and attention to detail. The distillery produces around 60,000 liters of whisky per year, making it one of the smallest in Japan. This allows for a greater degree of control and precision in the production process, resulting in high-quality and consistent flavours. Each stage of the production process, from milling and mashing to fermentation and distillation, is carefully monitored to ensure that the whisky reaches its full potential.

One of the most sought-after expressions from Chichibu is the Chichibu ‘The Peated.’ This whisky is known for its intense smokiness and has become a favorite among peat lovers. It is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon, sherry, and new American oak casks, adding layers of complexity to the final product. Another popular expression is the Chichibu ‘On The Way’. This whisky is a homage to the early stages of the distillery when they began producing whisky and is a blend of three, five, and eight-year-old whiskies. It is a testament to the progress and growth of Chichibu over the years.

Aside from creating outstanding whisky, Chichibu also takes part in sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. The distillery uses solar panels to generate clean energy, and the leftover barley from the mashing process is used as cattle feed for local farmers. Chichibu is also committed to conserving and protecting the surrounding natural environment and has implemented measures to promote biodiversity in the area.

The success of Chichibu whisky has not gone unnoticed, and it has won several prestigious awards, including the World Whiskies Awards and the International Spirits Challenge. Additionally, it has gained a dedicated following among whisky enthusiasts around the world. Many often travel to the small town of Chichibu to visit the distillery, enjoy a tour, and sample their world-renowned whisky.

In recent years, Japanese whisky has gained tremendous popularity and has been considered some of the best in the world. Chichibu whisky has played a vital role in this phenomenon and has put the small town of Chichibu on the map as a must-visit destination for whisky lovers. With its commitment to using local ingredients, small batch production, and attention to detail, Chichibu whisky will continue to make waves in the whisky industry and delight drinkers for years to come.