Ichiro Akuto makes some very good whiskies indeed, so I was looking forward to trying his Malt & Grain blend. For those who have never heard of him, Ichiro is one of the rock stars of Japanese whisky, and surely becoming a cult figure in the indie distilling world. He comes from a long tradition of drink-makers and was there when the Hanyu distillery closed down. Now of course he’s known as the master of Chichibu distillery, but in between he bought up and released some rather interesting single malts and blends.
The Malt & Grain is made up of whisky from these stocks, there is probably whisky from elsewhere, considering it says it’s ‘worldwide’ blended whisky (pretty big clue that) and bottled at 46% ABV. It’s much easier to find in the UK than some of his other blends, which is good to see.
Colour: pale straw, lemon-cream. On the nose: the grain notes take centre stage here. Thick treacly sweetness, a sharp citrus zing, cream cheese.
In the mouth: at first the weight seems to be absolutely bang on for me. It’s silky, Demerara-sweet whisky, with bold malt notes coming through. Floral. A sharp peppery, citrusy metallic finish, but it ends there in a rather two-dimensional state. It’s not anywhere near as sophisticated as some of the other whiskies that Ichiro has produced. It’s a good whisky, don’t get me wrong, but not spectacular – especially knowing just what magic Ichiro can produce.
The rather affordable £60 price tag somehow doesn’t seem worth it…