If you remember, last year’s advent calendar opening dram was the 2018 edition of Chichibu The Peated. This year we find another Chichibu The Peated, but an earlier edition, and this time behind the second window. We already reviewed a couple of Chichibus here so I won’t get into the distillery history again, but jump directly to the Chichibu 2011 The Peated (2015) review.
Chichibu 2011 The Peated (2015) Review
Today’s Chichibu was, you guessed it, distilled in 2011 and bottled in 2015, at the respectable cask strength of 62.5% ABV. It was matured in a combinations of barrels and hogsheads and quite a number of casks were used as the outturn was 5980 bottles. I’m not sure about what was the RRP back in 2015, but expect now to pay a stupid fortune to get a bottle, either on secondary market or on shops taking advantage of the scarcity, hype and time since it was released.
Amber. On the crown, small tight beans form that transform after quite a moment to very slow descending thin legs.
Neat: Medium intensity. Earthy notes and smoke draping wet dirt initially. Antiseptic and rotten banana make for a strange combination in writing but works well in real. Camphor and wet gaze add to the medicinal notes. The peat is grassy, with herbaceous notes like dry hay and cut grass as well as heather and moss.
With water: With the first few drops, there is more smoke, whilst the banana is gone. With a few more drops of water, the smoke changes to cold burnt wood.
Neat: Oily and slightly drying arrival. Not too hot, far from it, despite the ABV. Lots of empyreumatic notes with bonfire smoke, smoked lemon peel, broiled salmon and dark chocolate. Nice. There are also sweet and sour notes of candied ginger, and not the ABV makes itself known, with prickly chili and pepper as well as freshly squeezed lemon juice.
With water: dryer mouthfeel, and the smoke turns ashy. With a few more drops, slightly less dry, the smoke gets colder, there is a bit of honey and it light wood notes appear.
Medium to long, with smoked grapefruit dusted with grated vanilla, as well as spent green tea leaves.
Once again, this is a great whisky despite the young age. And we know that very young whiskies can be fantastic, just see what Bimber is doing for instance. Here, we have a lot of room to play with water and see how the whisky changes. This is a very nice whisky. Not very fruity, a bit dry and quite peated. And that works very well.
Lead image: courtesy of mizunaratheshop.com