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Chichibu X Katsumi Komagata Whisky Set Unveiled In 2024 ‘New Vibrations’ Catalogue

(Source: Whisky .fr)

 

Besides the Paris Edition 2023, the acclaimed spirits house La Maison du Whisky (LMDW) will be releasing a limited edition set of 4 single cask Chichibu bottlings in collaboration with a famous Japanese artist. This would be part of LMDW's 2024 "New Vibrations" catalogue.

The Chichibu X Katsumi Komagata set features 4 single cask bottlings aged from 6 years to 9 years, and have been made with various barley varieties and cask types. Labels for these bottlings are created by Katsumi Komagata, well known for his vibrant paper crafts.

 

(Source: Katsumi Komagata's Instagram profile)

 

 

For this special collection, Katsumi-san illustrated a quartet of nature-inspired images titled “Bird, Forest, Sky, Wave” that would resonate with the world of Chichibu whisky.

 

The birth of Katsumi-san’s child in 1990 inspired him to create picture books that were different from traditional ones. He created picture books for children filled with beautiful paper crafts which garnered attention across Japan and in many parts of Europe. Outside of art, he has also been a designer for Comme des Garçons and Hermès.

 

(Source: The Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum)

 

Katsumi-san shared that the illustrations he made specially for Chichibu were inspired by the natural environment outside his art studio in Iwate Prefecture, Japan:

It is a place surrounded by bountiful nature, with a gorgeous sky, clouds, mountains, and colours that change with the seasons. A great many kinds of wildlife can be observed there. The illustrations I created for this collection's labels are a direct reflection or this inspiring environment.

Let’s have a closer look at each expression.

Chichibu 6 Years Old 2016, Sherry Cask, Japanese Single Malt, 63.1% ABV

(Source: Whisky .fr)

 

This expression is made with Propino barley, and matured exclusively in a second-fill ex-Oloroso sherry hogshead. This is said to have very well-balanced notes with aromas of florals, fruits and woody sequences, with a deep palette of flavours.

This has an outturn of 289 bottles.

Official Tasting Notes

Nose: Deep, subtle. On the first nose, a vegetal, marine, salty, iodine, herbal (cut hay) and medicinal (ointment) peat takes centre stage. Allowed to breathe, notes of green pepper, pear, coconut milk and candied lemon bring extra complexity to the aroma palette.

Palate: Lively, well-rounded. The attack is dominated by an oily, chocolate and salty peat. With more altruism, however, it allows the expression of very intense vanilla, lemony and milky (coconut) flavours. The mid-palate takes us to the coast.

Finish: Long, serene. Like an excellent Islay single malt, the start of the finish is smoky, peaty, marine and mineral (chalk). With a pleasant malty bitterness, the end of the palate is also spicy (saffron, black pepper), aniseedy, vanilla and floral (lilac, lily of the valley).

Chichibu 7 Years Old 2015, Heavily Peated, Japanese Single Malt, 63.3% ABV

(Source: Whisky .fr)

 

Similar to the Antipodes Collection’s Chichibu Heavily Peated (and possibly made from the same spirit run batch based on the year of distillation), this expression is made from heavily peated Concerto barley. The whisky immediately reveals its intense peaty, smoky, salty and charcoal grilled meats, along with a medicinal character. Along with some coastal notes, this is said to evoke Islay whiskies.

The whisky was matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel and has an outturn of 192 bottles.

Official Tasting Notes

Nose : Rich, concentrated. Initially, iris butter aromas surge from the glass. With them come pressed lemons, dried walnut and aromas of curry and mirabelle. With aeration, notes of broom flower and nougat literally transcend the aroma palette.

Palate : Full, powerful. The initial vanilla (pod), fruit(pineapple) and wood (cedar) notes are astonishingly well-balanced. The candied (pear, banana), salty, lemony and chocolate-flavoured mid-palate is perfectly in tune with this stunning opening argument. The palate ends with a delicious array of herbal infusions (lime blossom, bay leaf).

Finish : Long, silky. As the finish begins, coconut milk and acacia honey spread across the palate, creating a very pleasant sensation of freshness and fullness. Finally, flavours of candied lemon, walnut and curry highlight the quality of the noble oak.

Chichibu 8 Years Old 2015, Wine Cask, Japanese Single Malt, 62.8% ABV

(Source: Whisky .fr)

 

Similarly matured as the Chichibu Wine Cask of the Antipodes Collection, this expression was matured in a cask that was previously filled with Japanese white wine made from Koshu grapes. The spirit is made with Odyssey barley.

The aromas are said to mirror the previous iteration, with a rustic and barnyard character that takes us across the fields. This has an outturn of 274 bottles.

Official Tasting Notes

Nose: lively, distinguished. The extremely elegant first nose shows pepper, heat (Cayenne), lemon (zest) and delicate vanilla. The deep aroma palette develops into extremely complex herbaceous (hay, straw), fruity (ripe grape, cider apple), spicy (clove, nutmeg) and floral (iris, lily) registers.

Palate: full-bodied, intense. In line with the nose, the attack reveals a magnificent chocolate and malt bitterness. Noble and expressive, the mid-palate displays delicate flowers (verbena, lime blossom), infusions (chamomile) and exotic fruits (pineapple, plantain banana).

Finish: long, rich. Impressive concentration with aromas of fruit (mirabelle, greengage), spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) and honey (heather), the finish starts off on medicinal (ointment), creamy (almond milk) and rustic (dandelion, meadow) notes. The very dense aftertaste reveals liquorice and noble spices (cardamom, saffron).

Chichibu 9 Years Old 2014, Bourbon Barrel, Japanese Single Malt, 61.9% ABV

(Source: Whisky .fr)

 

Finally, a classic from Chichibu that is matured in a second fill bourbon barrel. This expression is made from Propino barley and supposedly reflects the best of both youth and maturity. Offers a mixture of tangy and herbacious notes, with vanilla and syrup. This has an outturn of 177 bottles.

Official Tasting Notes

Nose: fresh, elegant. White fruits (pear, plum), aromatic herbs (sage, verbena), candied citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon) and divine vanilla fragrances bring plenty of class and depth. With aeration, the palette of aromas becomes milky (coconut, agave), spicy (ginger) and medicinal.

Palate: svelte, lively. The deliciously syrupy attack (acacia honey) is also mineral (slate) and salty. The more herbaceous mid-palate (lucerne, clover) takes on charming green hues (barley and rice fields) before ending on both lemony and vanilla notes.

Finish: long, silky. The finish starts off very juicy, like biting into a tangy apple. The just-as-expressive aftertaste wavers between notes of verbena, lime and cut hay. Much later, subtle notes of chocolate and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) take us into extra time.

Kanpai!

88 Bamboo Editorial Team