Japanese Whisky

Japanese whisky has a relatively short but impactful history, marked by a journey from humble beginnings to global acclaim. The origins of Japanese whisky can be traced back to the early 20th century when visionary figures like Masataka Taketsuru, the "Father of Japanese Whisky," embarked on a mission to learn the art of whisky-making in Scotland. Taketsuru returned to Japan with this knowledge and founded the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923, Japan's first whisky distillery. Subsequently, he established the Nikka Whisky Company, contributing significantly to the establishment and development of the Japanese whisky industry. 

The evolution of Japanese whisky has been characterized by a commitment to craftsmanship, innovation, and a unique blending of traditional Scottish techniques with Japanese precision. The 20th century saw Japanese distilleries steadily gaining recognition, but it wasn't until the early 21st century that their whiskies began to make a profound impact on the global stage. The critical acclaim received by Japanese whiskies at international competitions, coupled with influential releases from Suntory, Nikka and Ichiro’s Malt, propelled it into the limelight, captivating enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. The value of Japanese whisky has soared in recent years, driven by a combination of scarcity, quality, and global demand.

Ichiro Akuto: A Visionary Distiller 

Ichiro Akuto is a visionary and influential figure in the world of Japanese whisky, widely recognized for his pivotal role in establishing and shaping the success of Chichibu Distillery. This distillery, located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, is a relatively young yet highly acclaimed whisky producer that has made a significant impact on the global whisky scene. Founded in 2008 by Akuto, a descendent of a long line of sake and shochu producers, Chichibu quickly gained recognition for its commitment to craftsmanship, quality, and the art of small-batch production. The distillery was established to revive the family's historical ties to whisky, and its name pays homage to the town of Chichibu and its surrounding natural beauty. Chichibu’s whiskies have garnered attention for their unique Japanese character, combining traditional Scottish methods with a distinct local influence. The distillery embraces a farm-to-bottle philosophy, cultivating its own barley and experimenting with different yeast strains to create a diverse range of expressions.

Akuto also founded Ichiro's Malt, which showcases different distilleries, primarily Chichibu and the now defunct Hanyu distillery. The Ichiro's Malt Card Series, a set of single malt whiskies featuring labels resembling playing cards, has become iconic in the world of whisky collecting and has set multiple auction records for Japanese Whisky.

Ichiro's Malt, Chichibu Takashimaya Buyers Selection Cask #2641
Nikka Yoichi, 1990 20-Year-Old, Single Malt
Ichiro's Malt, Chichibu The First Ten, 10-Year-Old, Single Malt
Chichibu Specification, Cask No 2631, Single Malt
Ichiro's Malt

Ichiro's Malt, Chichibu Takashimaya Buyers Selection Cask #2641

Single cask release bottled exclusively for Takashimaya.

Nikka Yoichi

Nikka Yoichi, 1990 20-Year-Old, Single Malt

Nikka Whisky, founded by Masataka Taketsuru, is a pioneering Japanese whisky producer with a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Masataka Taketsuru, the "Father of Japanese Whisky," left for Scotland in 1918 to study the art of whisky-making. In 1934, Masataka established Nikka Whisky and opened the Yoichi Distillery on the northern island of Hokkaido. The location was chosen for its climate and natural resources, resembling the whisky-producing regions of Scotland. The Yoichi Distillery remains a crucial part of Nikka, known for its traditional pot stills and commitment to peated whiskies. 

Throughout its history, Nikka faced challenges, including the economic downturns and changes in consumer preferences that affected the entire industry. However, the dedication to traditional techniques and a commitment to innovation allowed Nikka to remain a prominent player in the global whisky market. The 1990 bottling, aged in a combination of ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon barrels from which 3500 bottles were produced, was a portal to a time before Japanese Whisky became a global phenomenon.

Ichiro's Malt

Ichiro's Malt, Chichibu The First Ten, 10-Year-Old, Single Malt

The first ever 10-Year-Old release from Chichibu.

Chichibu Specification

Chichibu Specification, Cask No 2631, Single Malt

The Specification series was done in partnership between Chichibu and Acorn Limited, a small yet highly regarded independent bottler based in Sadako City, Saitama. The series was made to showcase single-grain barley single malts.