The Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu On the Way opened, for John, with extraordinary heat and images of Death Valley hovering in the atmospheric distortions above Southern California highways. Of course, given that a 50 on the Scoville Scale has been known to induce neurasthenic fits and fainting spells for him, we take this with many grains of smelling salts. There’s jerked Jamaican Ugli fruit, too; really angry fruit that’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more. Don’t smoke around them, okay? There’s also an orange hiding there, obscured Waldo-like by lemons, mangoes, vintage cellos, and white poodles; a new breed of limoncello/mangodoodles. My goodness: the nose stays buttery and unlike most young whiskies, it does not f.a.l.l a-p-a-r-t.
The mouth is where the youth is: it’s runny, a tad bitter, a tad more butter, wood (but not butterwood); perhaps a lacquered wooden butter platter? Some astringency, a mouth-spa blow dry, and a skittish delicacy maturing into tact. Not a white dog, but rather a grey dog, or even a gray dawg, dawg.
On the finish, sea-salted emery boards, unroasted chestnuts, and kale chiffonade, softened by white wine vinegar, enlivened with Owsley’s little-known contraband citric acid. There’s a pulpy feel, a chewing on husks from BBQed corn hot off the alder-smoke grill. I got a palm frond soufflé—and baffled looks from Stephen. Finally, a sledgehammer (new) well-wrapped in gauze (fortunately also new).
The Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu On the Way 2010-13 is a college/university junior–It’s certainly worth talking with a college junior; they are often bright and interesting and filled with unusual perspectives. On the other hand, you’d kinda like to keep them in a cask for another 7-9 years and then hear what they have to say. Rising seniors and a rising sun: Bring it, Ichiro!
–Our thanks to Marcin Miller and Number One Drinks Company for the sample!