Chichibu Chibidaru | 53.5% | Japan
Meet #57 | 22/11/14 | Hosted by Phil
This meet was all about unusual casks, where the whisky was in a single cask for its entire lifetime. So, anything but a bourbon barrel / hogshead or a sherry butt. But no 'finishes' either... it was quite a challenge, and quite an expedition.
This young Japanese upstart is a powerful beast. It would be very generous to call this refined. There's a weird soy undertone (said in such a derogatory way that it sounded racist), treachery and suicide. One comment has actually been redacted here, pretty certain alcohol got the best of that party... Mint ("yeah, get that!"), aloe vera, and a sweet fruitiness. There was the glorious duo of fuschia / glue as well as floral and Gardinias (pretty sure they're made up).
Look at all the Chibidaru's siblings.. © Kitty's Bar
Is this an even better duo? Over-ripe peaches and silage? It was that kind of a smell - bonkers. Persil mixed with Madeira wine and tinned pineaplle, as wood pulp, honey and pine sap bring us firmly back to nature.
You'd think any tasting review that starts with "like lava at Mount FUGU" would be firmly put in its place for terrible cultural mismatching, but I'm pretty sure this 'error' was intended - it was hot, fiery and there was a small chance of a poisonous death, but if you tread carefully, a bland-tasting fish might emerge. It's not unlike a heavy, harsh Crunchie or a 'pie of some kind' ("Apple frangipan? That doesn't exist, but.."). It's minty ("yeah, definitely") and like being punched in the face.
"Chichibu distillery is just down this road... apparently."
It tasted of gone-off Turkish Delight, a rose water-ish sort of the thing, but gone wrong. It gave at least one of us hiccups, and was like being hit in the diaphragm, but with banana and cool watermelon in the mix. It was like nothing we'd tried before, perhaps cucumber? ("maybe that's what that unique taste it?"). Methol spicy, bizarre and a freshness that left us a bit stumped. "If it wasn't so sweet, I'd be really into it." With water, it tasted like chili cucumber water (whatever that is), bubble gum and "the opposite of what I normally like in a whisky but still really interesting". Certainly wasn't boring, and great as a last whisky of the night.
We had a special guest to demonstrate quarter-casking to us..
Finish & Comments
Somewhat rummy and tropical on the finish, with bay leaves and Thai basil. Lavender pervades, now a bit lemony with lemon sherberrrrrt and a bono bon thing (I think that was a U2-themed sweet). Long and almondy. "Really didn't like it."
We tasted this blind, with everyone trying to guess its age and cost. The average age guessed was 12.4 (4-25) and average cost was £95.78 (£70-£120). We were very close to the price, but it was widely thought to be much older than it was, although a few picked up it was very young.
I asked for some help on the single cask theme...
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.
74 / 100
Detailed scores (out of 10)
Ali G: 2
Tasting Game Points (out of 6)
Ali G: 1
[ for other thoughts on whisky and more in-depth activities of the group, check out whisky on meiotic