Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rare Japanese Drams (2): Chichibu Newborn Heavily Peated Cask # 453 - 61.4% abv

Distilled from peated optic barley, the newborn heavily-peated new make from Chichibu was bottled at cask strength after a short maturation of three months. There were three releases of this peated malt from casks # 451, 452, and 453 respectively - American oak hogsheads. Although this whisky was/is not uncommon the Newborn range are few and far between today making this reasonably atypical, therefore unique in my opinion.

Nose: Sweet peat. Golden brown crumpets with treacle. Shearing sheds, oily sheep fleece, Lanolin cream, and pork crackling. Lemon Strepsils along with a hint of eucalyptus. Char-grilled sweet potato skins with a sprinkle of salt. Damp earthy character. Sweet tar and tree sap. When diluted smoked sea scallops with citrus and soy sauce. Then, sweet crude oil, corn syrup and/or gum syrup, and coal smoke. Following on from this you get distinctive PVC rubber toys and diesel train smoke.

Taste: Besides the obvious peat that can be both sweet and peppery you get menthol initially, which moves towards bitter lemon licorice drops. Water adds ash and charcoal baked potato skins. Sweet tar. PVC toys.

Finish: Hard hitting and reasonably long. Ashy, and fair to say suggestions of sea salt. Peat smoke naturally, and let's not forget the Japanese medicine Seirogan (here).

Comment: It is what it is, but I can say I really enjoyed this. Some enthusiasts have voiced there is a personal favourite out of the three casks, regardless of cask type and variety of barley being the same. Interesting contrast when this expression is drank beside Chichibu The Peated (both releases). 

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