Ichiro’s Malt/Chichibu Distillery represents a grouping of the various products made by Ichiro Akuto of Japan, one of the leading figures in whisky.
The Akuto family had been making sake and shochu in Chichibu since 1625. In the 1980s, they set up a whisky distillery in the industrial town of Hanyu, trucking in water from Chichibu. This was just as the whisky market was collapsing and, by 2000, the distillery had closed. Ichiro Akuto was left with 400 casks of stock, which he released in the Ichiro’s Malt Hanyu Card Series through to 2014. Around 60 expressions were bottled with labels based on a deck of playing cards, including two jokers and several cards appearing in alternate forms. The rarer “cards” have become some of the most sought-after and highly priced whiskies in the world.