Monday, March 25, 2013

Chichibu 2013 New Release: Chibidaru & Port Pipe

The moment many of us have been waiting for has finally been put into action. This morning, March 25, Akuto-san announced the release of two new Chichibu expressions to the portfolio of the distillery – Ichiro’s Malt Chibidaru (original quarter cask): outturn of 3,900 bottles and bottled at 53.5% abv, and the Port Pipe: outturn of 4,200 and bottled at 54.5% abv. These are very welcoming follow-ups to the distillery’s first three expressions (The First, The Floor Malted, and The Peated), and the beginning of this this year’s flourishment of new bottlings.
It is not official as to when these cask strength expressions will become available, however Akuto-san informs us it will not be too long and preparations are in action to get them out quick (I expect sometime April – could be wrong obviously). The retail price of both expressions, which were distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2013 will be on par with The Peated and The Floor Malted – going for 8,500 yen respectively (excluding tax).
The official bottlings of the Chibidaru and Port Pipe, although new, have been available in the past such as Shinanoya’s fifth anniversary private bottling and LMDW’s private bottling, as well as Sanyou Bussan’s Port Pipe private bottling (also, let’s not forget the prototypes at the distillery and various festivals), but these official distillery bottlings hold much more significance in my opinion. Expect these to go reasonably quick, like most bottlings these days, but especially these bearing the notion of “official bottlings” with a lesser outturn compared to its siblings – so get your order in. Stay tuned for more news and reviews in time to come.


  1. Hi Clint, I cannot wait to try these new bottlings. In particular the Port Pipe expression looks very enticing. I wonder how many bottles will make their way to the export markets...

  2. Interesting question, Pierre. I heard along the grape vine that this time it may not be half of the outturn like it was for I believe The Floor Malted? Of course might be just speculation - however, it makes sense with the strong interest domestically for a lot more inventory to stay on shore. Of course some of the major players in Europe will get a share but I'm guessing it will not be a lot and this time to selected outposts. Even Japanese bars that once were never really interested in stocking a lot of Japanese malt are now on the hunt and chase just like any other enthusiast. This in turn has created the "more on shore" element of recent.

  3. You might be right, Clint. So far - be it The First, The Peated or The Floor Malted - it seems that all Chichibu expressions were evenly divided between Japan and the export markets. However, as this time the number of bottles produced is markedly below what was available for prior expressions I do hope for the Japanese consumer that most of the bottles will be allocated to the home market.

    1. It appears that this time around, for the new Chichibu's, the ouuturn most likely will not be evenly divided between Japan and the export markets. It has been suggested that over half the outturn will be for the Japan market and the ever increasing domestic interest.

    2. The US is going to start pulling on the supply soon as well.

    3. That is true, Chris. It will be interesting to see exactly how much. Chichibu bound for the US will naturally mean less distribution for one market to compensate for each market share. The US bottle regulations, with the extra 50mls, although not much physically, may also determine what, and how much goes where - I mean it will decrease the outturn of "X" amount of bottles, therefore allotments for each country may possibly change. Perhaps bigger outturns will be put into action? Either way I think it's safe to say Japan will start to have a lot more for its domestic market, it's only natural with the ever increased enthusiasm here. I
      Guess the most important thing is its not a speculation of who may get what and how much but there is Chichibu for everyone in every market regardless of quantity ;)