Paris Whisky Live 2022 – VIP Antipodes Chichibu Quartet

La Maison du Whisky’s VIP Antipodes at Paris Whisky Live 2022 featured a different kind of Artist approach with Japan’s Chichibu whisky and artist Aki Kurada – described as a prolific Japanese artist known for his murals, performances, stage designs, and work with renowned architects.

Curious, I knew it should be worth braving the crowd around this booth with its eye-catching labels and enticing drams…

I had intended to start with the Virgin Oak, however inadvertently we began with the heavily peated cask – oops!

Chichibu 6 year (2015) Heavily Peated 2nd Fill Bourbon Barrel #4660 63.9% (LMdW) 197 Bottles

The aroma was initially quite dessert-like – with vanilla, biscuits, and fruity…. then creeping up from behind came a bonfire. The palate had a very pronounced peat that tapered away into an ashy finish.

Chichibu 8 year (2013) Japanese Wine Cask #9664 61% (LMdW) 210 bottles

How interesting to try a whisky finished in a Japanese wine cask, though unspecified, it had a bit of character reminiscent of a merlot – pure speculation on my part!

Chichibu 8 year (2013) Virgin Oak Barrel #2856 61% (LMdW) 198 Bottles

You could really see the character of the virgin oak – the spice, oaky and rather intense on the palate, chased by a nice nutty element, and a resinous finish.

Chichibu 7 year (2014) Peated 2nd Fill Bourbon Barrel #3812 64.3% (LMdW) 187 Bottles

Much lighter peat than the heavily peated whisky at the start of our journey… also more balanced.

What an interesting zip through current offerings from Chichibu. Interested in learning more, after the event, I looked up what La Maison du Whisky has to say about the artist and whiskies:

It is no coincidence that this Japanese artist’s selfportraits have been chosen by La Maison du Whisky to adorn these exclusive versions of Chichibu matured in four different types of cask, one especially surprising cask having previously held a wine made from a Japanese grape variety. Like the different facets of a single persona, these four unique casks explore Chichibu’s knowhow and the very different temperaments of a single creative spirit. Produced with acrylic on canvas, the faces painted by Aki Kuroda recall the ancestral tradition of masks while at the same time affirming a very expressive modernity, in a style that verges on abstraction. They reflect an identity that is resolutely contemporary and yet nourished by tradition, much like Chichibu itself.

“My artworks are always the result of a meeting, a chance encounter, a detail that struck me or a face that inspired me… These self-portraits are in part reminiscences of the Minotaure magazine which I saw as a child in my father’s house, a Surrealist magazine published in Paris in the 1930s. I have been obsessed with the figure of the Minotaur ever since. Its features are mixed with mine. I don’t see anything monstrous in it. It’s simply a game for me to overlay them.

What an interesting approach….

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