List of products by brand Chichibu
Ichiro's Malt/Chichibu Distillery represents a grouping of the various products made by Ichiro Akuto of Japan, one of the leading figures in whisky. The Akuto family had been making sake and shochu in Chichibu since 1625. In the 1980s, they set up a whisky distillery in the industrial town of Hanyu, trucking in water from Chichibu. This was just as the whisky market was collapsing and, by 2000, the distillery had closed. Ichiro Akuto was left with 400 casks of stock, which he released in the Ichiro's Malt Hanyu Card Series through to 2014. Around 60 expressions were bottled with labels based on a deck of playing cards, including two jokers and several cards appearing in alternate forms. The rarer "cards" have become some of the most sought-after and highly priced whiskies in the world.
In the 2000s, Ichiro Akuto also set up Chichibu Distillery, a very small facility in the town of the same name in Saitama Prefecture. It began operations in 2008, becoming the first new distillery in the country since 1973. Chichibu's labels also feature the Ichiro's Malt branding. Akuto sources around 10 percent of Chichibu's malt from local growers – an important step as Japanese whisky has long been totally reliant on foreign imports. Local peat is also being used as Chichibu looks to maximize its integration into its surroundings. In the early years of the distillery there have been many experiments with styles of malting, distillation and maturation. Three distillates are made by adjusting the temperature of the condensers – heavy, light, and peated. A wide variety of casks are used for aging, including 500-liter American oak barrels, quarter-casks and used wine casks. A correspondingly large number of small batch whiskies have been released. Other products that appear under the Ichiro's Malt banner include Bartender's Choice blended whisky, aged Malt & Grain, and an independent selection from Karuizawa distillery. In addition Akuto has bottled several collaborations with other merchants and distributors.Less