Ichiro's Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve

”Woman From Tokyo”

Whisky Review # 891

Country: Japan
Region: North of Tokyo
Brand: Ichiro's Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve - Leaf Series
Blended at: Chichibu Distillery
Type: Japanese Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Possibly a mix of Bourbon & Sherry & Wood with Mizunara Finish
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price : US$ 230 (October 2020) - Lowest Price: US$ 160 (October 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Quite expensive for such a Young Whisky.
Buying Advice:😔It's not bad but at this price level I find it hard to recommend it!


Medium Amber (Natural Colour)


Despite the fact that this Whisky is called Mizunara Wood Reserve, I don't believe it solely matured in Mizunara Wood. When nosing you will immediately get the specific Polished Sandalwood Aroma of the Mizunara Wood but I also get clear Ex-Bourbon Aromas. And there might be a few Ex-Sherry casks in the mix as well. A Mizunara Wood Finish is more likely here. On the Nose this Ichiro is Young, Sweet, Fruity, Floral and Malty. Toffee/Caramel, Honey and (Dried) Fruit lead the way. It's quite soothing and pleasant actually.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs and Bananas, Red Apple, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Floral Tea, Sandal Wood, American Oak, Mint and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Nectarine, Pear, Bounty Bars, Grass/Straw, Lemon, Sugared Orange, Fresh Herbs, Wet Stones, Nutmeg, Ginger and a hint of Green Vegetables. At times I got the light impression of a wine cellar.


The Mouthfeel is on the Thin side and less elegant than the Nose. Its Youth is more clear and the Alcohol is noticeable. It is still Fruity & Malty but Wood and Spices are on the move. Mostly Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour components for balance.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs and Dates, Red Apple, Sandal Wood, Oak Shavings, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Salted Nuts, Pear, Orange, Bounty Bars, Grass, Floral Tea, Fresh Herbs like Rosemary, Menthol, Nutmeg, Green Vegetables and Milk Chocolate.


Short/Middle-Long. Quite Sweet at first but showing increasing Bitterness towards the end. Its Youth is obvious and the mouthfeel is rather Thin. The Alcohol is also noticeable at this point. I find Barley Sugar, Toasted Cereals, Toffee, Caramel, Red Apple, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs and Raisins, Grapefruit, Lemon, Sandal Wood, Oak Shavings, Bounty Candy Bars, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Ginger, Menthol and hints of Tobacco and Ashes.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Malt. It's Thin enough as it is.

Rating: 83

Nose: 22 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good


This Whisky is named after Ichiro Akuto, the owner and founder of the Chichibu distillery founded in 2008. He is a grandson of the founder of Hanyu, a distillery that was closed in 2004. Ichiro managed to buy around 400 casks of Hanyu Malt. Ichiro's Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve is a blend of Malt Whiskies from these two distilleries. Over the years the Hanyu part in the blend will diminish as stocks decrease.

Ichiro's Mizunara Wood Reserve is quite pleasant and almost female on the Nose. But the Palate and the Finish show its Youth. Lately I have tasted too many whiskies that simply should have matured more in order to get a chance to shine. Economic reasons seem to rule worldwide these days as supply can hardly keep up with demand. Let's hope the tide will turn as it has done a few times in the history of Whisky. As it stands this Japanese Malt is certainly not bad although the Finish is on the Short side. But it could be so much better with more cask time and a longer marriage of the Spirit with the Mizunara Wood. 


Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 12, 2020

Chichibu Distillery

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