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They don’t get much more elusive than this. Blends between different distilleries are incredibly rare in Japan – such is the fierce competition between distilling companies. This whisky combines spirit produced at Mars’ Komagatake distillery (the highest in the country), with that from Ichiro Akuto’s legendary Chichibu location. The spirit has been aged in a dizzying array of casks, including Sherry, red wine and Japanese Mizunara oak.
Chichibu, Saitama, Japan
While blends between rival companies and distilleries is commonplace in Scotland, the corporate culture in Japan means that bottlings like this one are virtually never produced. This is the reason that you’ll find so many distilleries owned by the same company dotted around Japan – to create different styles of spirit from different locations for blenders to use.
It’s also the reason this bottling is so exciting – combining lighter spirit from the Mars distillery, with Chichibu’s typically heavier, denser style. The wide variety of casks used help to add an extraordinary depth of flavour, and make this blended malt a sure-fire winner.
Only 10,200 bottles were produced.
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Deeply tropical, with aromas of pineapple rind, banana and peaches, alongside some caramelised malt, coconut flakes and subtle dried fruits. A burst of salinity brightens things.
Weighty and silky on the palate, with more of those tropical flavours, in addition to a little warm leather, fragrant flowers, ripe plums, wine tannins and toffee apples.
Long, becoming quite oaky, with American and Mizunara oak taking hold and delivering vanilla, cinnamon, sandalwood and nutmeg spice.