Chichibu Distillery - Japan Spring 2008

Chichibu Distillery

Saturday 29th March 2008

Spent the daytime visiting Akuto-san's new distillery in Chichibu, which was utterly fantastic. Then back to Tokyo in the evening for dinner with some of Chie's friends from her university days.

Japan Spring 2008

John's Pictures
Maison de Stuff

12:48:27 Seibu-Chichibu station, in Saitama, about an hour and a half from Tokyo. It was then about a 15 minute taxi ride from here to the distillery.13:15:03 Our first glimpse of Chichibu Distillery - very exciting!13:16:17 Me and Chie with the distillery behind us.

13:16:49 A close-up on the tell tale pagoda roof - which seems even more appropriate here in Japan.13:21:12 The milling room.13:21:32 The two types of malt currently in use at Chichibu distillery.

13:30:48 ....some malt bags.13:35:13 A peak into the mash tun.13:35:29 Akuto-san explaining what is going on here.

13:35:55 I think this is the grist hopper. I loved the fact there were bamboo poles here.13:36:07 A view out over one side of the distillery - with the wash backs in the foreground, and the stills in the background.13:36:16 Actually we weren't entirely sure what these containers were - possibly just spirit vats?

13:36:22 The mash tuns and still again.13:36:26 Underbacks I believe.13:41:37 Akuto-san talking about fermentation and the washbacks.

13:42:48 Apparently these used a slightly unusual (and presumably native Japanese) wood, so had to undergo some special treatment.13:42:57 Chie rather liked these clamps.13:43:28 Me and Chie beneath the stills.

13:43:53 No. 3 washback.13:47:40 Akuto-san standing between the wash still and the spirit safe.13:47:56 The stills were made in Scotland to very precise requirements from Akuto-san.

13:57:35 Akuto-san and three whisky nerds!13:59:02 Close-up on the wash still (seem to have neglected the spirit still a bit).14:04:38 My favourite picture of the day - look at the pride and satisfaction in Akuto-san's face here. Fantastic.

14:05:22 The pagoda roof again.14:06:26 Inside the maltings. Apparently they weren't quite ready to do their own malting yet, so for the time being this was more of a store room.14:06:35 Looking up in the maltings to the inside of the pagoda roof.

14:09:18 The barrel room.14:09:33 Apparently none of these had been filled yet - they would be filling their first casks in April.14:09:46

14:11:18 A dark picture of Akuto-san and one of his casks.14:13:35 The famous Ichiro's Malt branding here (Ichiro being Akuto-san's first name).14:13:43

14:17:59 The view from the back of the distillery.14:26:14 Back in the distillery - a few more random pictures as we were waiting for our taxi. Here's one of the still again.14:26:27 ...and again...

14:26:49 ...and again.14:27:24 Watanabe-san taking a look at some yeast.14:28:38 One of the other workers at the distillery (Nabe-san?) stirring the washbacks.

14:30:06 ...and adding yeast...14:31:08 Finally a shot where you can actually see the spirit still as well (not that it looks that much different to the wash still...).14:31:14 Same again.

19:50:54 Later on that evening, back in Tokyo, we met up with some of Chie's old university friends for dinner. A bit of a blurry picture...19:51:00 ...and a slightly less blurry picture.21:36:56 Junchan doing a Dumbo impression with the menus.