Though small in scale, Chichibu has big dreams and ambitions.
Chichibu Distillery is owned by Venture Whisky and founded by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of Hanyu distillery's founder. The distillery started its operations in February, 2008. Chichibu Distillery was established in Chichibu City, in Saitama Prefecture, around 100 km north-west of Tokyo. There is a small mill, a mash tun, washbacks made with Japanese oak (Mizunara) and a pair of small copper pot stills, manufactured by Forsyths of Elgin, Scotland.
The distillery was built upon a small hill about a half-hour’s drive from the centre of Chichibu City. The area is hot and humid in the summer but extremely cold in the winter, with the temperature dropping below zero in the evenings and early mornings. Such an extreme environment is said to have an enormous influence on the whisky's ageing, giving Chichibu’s whiskies a fruity and well-balanced character despite their short ageing periods.
Though small in scale, Chichibu has big dreams and ambitions. Every year the staff travel to the UK to study floor-malting; they then utilize this knowledge to malt barley from Saitama Prefecture at Chichibu. Locally produced and malted barley only accounts for a small part of their production up to now, but it is already being used in the making of the Chichibu Single Malt. Whilst faithfully following traditional Scotch whisky production methods, the distillery is trying to carve out its own distinctive character nurtured by Chichibu’s natural environment. Various types of casks continued to be experimented with, in search of the unique identity best suited to Chichibu.