[Review] Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Single Cask Mizunara heads Hogshead for CLAUDE WHISKY

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

This bottle was bottled at Chichibu Distillery as a private bottle to commemorate the 100th anniversary of CLAUDE WHISKY, a craft whisky specialty store.

This single cask whisky has been aged for about 8 years in a “Mizunara Heads Hogshead” using Mizunara oak for the mirror plate only.


1. Manufacturer

Venture Whisky Co.

Head office49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama 368-0067
Owned distilleriesChichibu Distillery, Chichibu No.2 Distillery

2. Distillery

Venture Whisky Chichibu Distillery

Location of distillery49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama 368-0067
Start of operation2007 (the first year of operation)

The single malt whisky production is rooted in the Chichibu climate.
The founder, Mr. Ichiro Akuto, takes pride in the fact that his malt whisky is Japanese whisky, and produces it by hand with a small mill, mash tuns, oak fermenters, and pot stills made by Forsyth of Scotland.

The Chichibu Distillery is surrounded by rich nature, clean air, and high quality water. The summer is hot and humid, and the morning and evening temperatures are below freezing. The difference in temperature between the cold and hot in this harsh climate has a great influence on the maturation of the whisky, resulting in a fruity and well-balanced whisky despite the short maturation period.

Established in September 2004.
Chichibu Distillery was completed in 2007.
In February 2008, a license to make whisky was issued and whisky production began at the Chichibu Distillery.
In October 2019, the second distillery begins operations.


This distillery was established after Suntory Hakushu Distillery and Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery, which were established in 1973. It was the first distillery to be established in Japan in 35 years, at a time when the whisky industry was in the doldrums.

The second distillery, which has been in operation since fall 2019, produces a whopping five times as much as the first distillery. The pot still is the same shape as the first distillery, but it is a much larger pot still so that it can distill five times as much malt at a time. The distiller is Forsyth and uses a direct gas-fired distiller.

For more information about Chichibu Distillery, see also ↓ here.


3. Product name and photo

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Single Cask Mizunara heads Hogshead for CLAUDE WHISKY
Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Single Cask Mizunaraheads Hogshead for CLAUDE WHISKY

4. Characteristics

This single cask Japanese whisky was distilled in 2014 and aged for about 8 years in a second fill (*1) hogshead (*2) and a Mizunara Heads hogshead with only the mirror plate changed to Mizunara wood before being bottled.

*1 After removing the original whisky from the casks used to mature the whisky, the original whisky is put back into the casks and matured again.

*2 A bourbon cask that has been disassembled and reassembled.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaRipe apple, vanilla, French toast, and orange citrus at the back.
TasteFruity and gorgeously sweet, like apple juice and fruit candy.
AftertasteGentle sweetness enveloping the tongue with apple and pear fruit aromas, minty coolness

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content62%
By SakeSingle malt Japanese whisky
Cask typeSecond fill Mizunara Heads Hogshead
Number of bottles sold228 bottles
Suggested retail price25,300 yen (tax included)
Release date2023 (tax included)

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product NameIchiro’s Malt Chichibu Single Cask Quercus Hogshead for CLAUDE WHISKY
Suggested Retail Price25,300 yen (including tax)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

There is no record of the product being listed on Mercari at this time. (*As of May 26, 2023)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions: Lowest 149,600 yen Highest 149,600 yen Average 149,600 yen (*Statistics for the past 180 days from May 26, 2022)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It does not appear to be currently available on the mail order site. (*As of May 26, 2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, one glass, 45ml: 6,930 yen, 30ml: 4,620 yen, 15ml: 2,310 yen.

Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys introduced on this site, they also hand...

7. Summary

This is a very fruity and floral whisky.

The rich, fruity sweetness, which is reminiscent of ripe apples from its gorgeous aroma, first makes your tongue dance.

Even if you drink it straight, you will hardly feel the attack of alcohol, and after you finish it, you will be intoxicated by the cool aftertaste of apples, pears, and mint, and the gentle sweetness that envelops your entire tongue, giving you an inexpressible feeling of euphoria.

When you add water, the sweet aroma of vanilla and French toast, which had been hidden behind the fruit, comes to the forefront.

The moment you put it in your mouth, the aroma dissipates at once and then gently falls on your tongue, filling your mouth with a euphoric sensation from a different angle than when it is straight.

This is a gorgeous and rich product that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Claude’s Whisky, and even if you are not a fan of Ichiro’s Malt, you should definitely try it.

Please take a look at our other articles on “Ichiro’s Malt”. 

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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.

Misato Ushiwata

Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
She attended a university in Tokyo, where she studied brewing and other sciences while translating articles for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

Misato Ushiwataをフォローする
Japanese Whisky Dictionary