[Review] Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve (MWR)

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Chichibu Distillery (Ichiro's Malt)

MWR” is an acronym for Mizunara Wood Reserve.
Mizunara(Quercus crispula), also known as Japanese oak, is a deciduous broadleaf tree in the Quercus family. It grows naturally in mountainous areas from Hokkaido in the north to Kagoshima Prefecture in the south.
Many of the Quercus serrata trees from Hokkaido are of particularly high quality, and are used for maturing domestic whisky. Ichiro’s malt is made from Quercus mongolica grown in Hokkaido, which gives it an oriental aroma reminiscent of incense and a delicate, complex flavor.

It’s hard to get a hold of Ichirose Malt because it’s so popular that it’s sold out the moment it hits the shelves, but the Leaf Series (Quercus Wood Reserve, Winewood Reserve, and Double Distilleries), which are the standard products, are extremely popular and captivate whisky fans. Among them, this Mizunara Wood Reserve is the signature product of the Leaf Series. This is a whisky that can be called “the best of the best” .


1. Manufacturer

Venture whisky Co.

Establishment Established in 2004
Head office location 49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama 368-0067 Japan
Distilleries owned Chichibu Distillery, Chichibu No.2 Distillery

2. Distillery

Venture whisky Chichibu Distillery

Location 49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, 368-0067 Japan
Start of operations 2007

Single malt whisky production rooted in the climate of Chichibu is carried out.
Mr. Ichiro Akuto, the founder of the distillery, takes pride in producing Japanese whisky, and is committed to handcrafting malt whisky using small mills, mash tuns, Quercus fermenters, and pot stills made by Forsyth in Scotland.

The area around the Chichibu distillery is rich in nature, with clean air, good quality water, high temperatures and humidity in the summer, and cold temperatures that reach below freezing in the morning and evening. The difference in temperature between the two regions has a profound effect on the maturation of the whisky, resulting in a fruity and well-balanced whisky despite the short maturation period.


Established in September 2004.
The Chichibu distillery was completed in 2007.
In February 2008, a license to make whisky was issued and the Chichibu distillery began making whisky.
In October 2019, the second distillery will begin operations.

This distillery was established after Suntory Hakushu Distillery and Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery, which were established in 1973. The distillery was established in 1973 after Suntory Hakushu Distillery and Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery. The first distillery established in Japan in 35 years. This was the end of the whisky slump.
The annual whisky production is only two days’ worth of the Glenlivet distillery in Scotland.

The second distillery, which has been in operation since the fall of 2019, has a production volume that is a whopping two times that of the first distillery. 5 times The second distillery, which will be operational in the fall of 2019, will produce a whopping 1.5 times more malt than the first. The pot still is the same shape as the first distillery, but it is much larger so that it can distill five times as much malt. It is made by Forsythe. Gas direct-fired distillation machine It is made by Forsythe.

For more information on Chichibu Distillery, please see also.


3. Product name and photo

Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve (MWR)

4. Characteristics

Key malt is malt raw material from Hanyu distillery.
Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve (MWR) is made by using malt from the Hanyu distillery as the key malt and batting several types of malt whisky together.
It is then re-aged in Mizunara Reserve Vat.
The name of the distillery where the malt whisky was bathed is not known, but the strongest type of peat was selected and blended at the Chichibu distillery.

In the mouth, the astringent and slightly spicy taste of dried grapes spreads at first, gradually changing to a sweet and smoky taste like chocolate. The body is thick and well-balanced.
In the finish, the sandalwood-like aroma peculiar to Mizunara comes in well-balanced, complex and delicate, spicy and sweet, with woody and peaty elements intertwined in a complex way, creating a unique flavor.

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Cacao, chocolate, apricot, marmalade, ginger.
Taste Bitter chocolate, spicy and peaty.
Aftertaste Woody and peaty with complex flavors.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol Content 46%
alcohol category Blended malt whisky
Barrel type Quercus serrata and others
Contents 700ml
Number of bottles sold
Suggested retail price 6,600 yen (tax included)
Release date

5. Awards

2010 WWA (World Whisky Awards) “Best Japanese Blended Malt” .

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product name Ichirose Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve
Volume 700ml
Suggested retail price 6,000 yen (tax included: 6,600 yen)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is Around 12,000 yen The resale price on Mercari is as follows. (*as of February 16, 2021)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auction

The winning bid price on Yahoo Auction is Lowest bidder: 3,402 yen, Highest bidder: 161,000 yen, Average bidder: 18,268 yen (*Statistics for the past 120 days as of February 16, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is also sold on mail order sites at Around 15,000 yen It is also sold at (*As of February 16, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR SHINKAI”, which is operated by this site, we offer 1 glass, 45ml: 2,310 yen 30ml: 1,540 yen, 15ml: 770 yen It is also offered in small quantities such as

Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys...

7. Summary

This whisky has a sweet and smoky taste with the unique aroma of “Mizunara” , a barrel material that is attracting attention from both inside and outside Japan, along with a sense of maturity.
If you add water, you can feel the complexity in the sweetness and it becomes very easy to drink. On the rocks, the rich flavor of straight whisky becomes less pronounced, but you can still taste a little sweetness and elegance. In a highball, the sweetness is more pronounced.

As can be said for the entire Leaf series of Ichiro’s Malt, it is a “super hard to find” whisky, and is sold online at a pre-sale price two to three times the list price. If you are a fan of Japanese whisky, it is a whisky that you should buy immediately if you find it at a liquor store at a fixed price. If you haven’t tried it yet, some bars offer it at a relatively reasonable price, so you should definitely try it at least once.

If you’ve never tried it before, there are some bars that offer it for a relatively reasonable price.

[Review] Ichirose Malt Double Di...
We battered malt raw sake from Hanyu Distillery and Chichibu Distillery, and Hanyu Distillery's malt raw sake uses "sherry barrels" mainly from puncheon barrels, and "Mizunara barrels" are used for the malt unshuil at Chichibu Distillery.
[Review] Ichiro's Malt Wine Wood...
La liqueur brute de malt de cuve et plusieurs autres malts proviennent de la distillerie Hanyu. Ces sakés originaux sont mûris dans des fûts de vin rouge en chêne français.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whisky and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whisky and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whisky? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whisky in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.

新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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