At a time when everyone’s looking at what makes a true Japanese dram, Chita Single Grain Whisky stands apart. Here’s why it should be on your home bar.
If bold bourbons accompany daring men, and Scotch is the embodiment of success and refinement, then Japanese whiskies are the perfect way to showcase your penchant for all things modern and sophisticated. Now, after the dramatic rise of Japanese whisky over the past few decades, drams from the Land of the Rising sun are crowning additions to many contemporary spirit collections.
The popularity of Japanese whiskies has exploded around the world. In the five years between 2015 and 2020, whisky exports from Japan more than tripled, and this booming demand for the unique taste and craftsmanship synonymous with true Japanese whisky has driven innovation in this tradition-steeped industry.
Chita Single Grain Japanese Whisky is one such pioneering spirit and represents a daring shift in the perception of what a grain whisky can be. Normally used as an accompaniment to balance out blended whiskies, and subsequently undervalued, Chita producer Suntory saw the potential for a grain whisky that could hold its own in the Japanese whisky scene, which was recently rocked by changes to Japanese spirit legislation that meant that not all Japanese whiskies were created equal.
Not All “Japanese” Whiskies Are Japanese
Japan’s whisky producers recently came together to better define what exactly is necessary for a Japanese whisky to be labeled as such. This has come in response to some producers artificially pumping up the supply of the spirit to meet rocketing global demand, often using non-traditional and sometimes questionable methods.
In order to protect the integrity of Japanese whisky from less-exacting renditions, stringent requirements have been implemented that brands must follow if they wish to label their product as Japanese whisky.
Whiskies must now be produced, distilled, maturated, and bottled in Japan. Distillers must also always use malted grains as well as water extracted exclusively from the country. If a whisky doesn’t meet all of the new requirements, then it may not use any Japanese names, locations, personalities, or the national flag.
Suntory’s collection of whiskies have always been made with a commitment to traditional Japanese techniques, and as such, already met these standards. Included in this collection is Chita Japanese Whisky, a grain whisky created to change perceptions and please palates.
A History of Balance
Excellence in distilling Japanese grain whiskies has been the standard at the Chita distillery for half a century. Founded by Master Blender Keizo Saji, the distillery was dedicated to pursuing the creation of the highest quality Japanese grain whisky while so many others focused on single malts.
Exceptionally versatile, balanced, and smooth, Chita’s grain whiskies have traditionally been used to enhance the harmony in Suntory’s blended offerings. However, Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo knew that grain whiskies were, until then, not living up to their true potential and set out to create the ultimate expression.
Through years of research and innovation, Chita grain whiskies have developed a deep sophistication and complexity, culminating in The Chita Single Grain Whisky – the first single grain whisky from Suntory.
The Serenity of Japanese Whisky
Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo has dubbed The Chita Single Grain Whisky as the “serenity of Japanese whisky,” echoing the elegant stillness of the surrounding Chita Peninsula. “There is a quiet confidence and tenderness in our grain whiskies,” says Fukuyo. “These qualities allow them to be their own heroes, whether in a blend or featured as a single grain whisky.”
Grain whisky is, by nature, a lighter and more delicate spirit than its counterparts. However, Suntory chose instead to elevate and accentuate these subtle accents by using creative techniques to drew out complexity and depth of flavour. Combining the placid climate of the Chita Peninsula with American White and Spanish Oak casks, The Chita Single Grain Whisky has achieved a unique blend of complexity, subtlety, and refinement that has won over whisky lovers the world over.
Chita Single Grain Whisky is a mild and smooth golden spirit with an enticing sophistication and a clean finish of bittersweet spiced oak. Gentle, agreeable, and multi-dimensional, this liquor is as amenable as it is easy to appreciate as it shies away from any overt intensity or brashness.
Dancing on the nose are thoughtful notes of crème brûlée, cardamom, acacia honey, and blossoming rose. There is also no harsh aroma of alcohol, an aspect often associated with other grain whiskies. Adding water brings out the natural floral notes of fruit, licorice and inherent sweetness before hinting at notes of char.
The Chita Single Grain Whisky is as agreeable on the palate as it is on the nose. The body is light with a sweet convalescence of ginger, apples, deep honey, and mint. Mild and smooth, adding water on the palate unlocks a surprising vibrancy of black pepper, cardamom, and woody notes. The finish is somewhat succinct, with notes of lemon drop, vanilla, and wood.
The Chita Single Grain Whisky shines when used in a chilled highball, one of Japan’s favourite concoctions. The effervescent water brings out the spirit’s inherent flavour and fullness while also drawing out the more complex notes of spice and wood.
If you desire to highlight the sweetness even further, consider crafting a Chita Whisky highball without the ice, which allows for more thoughtful tasting.
Drinking Chita Whisky neat allows you to savour the liquor at your own leisure, gently enjoying the different flavours with each sip. The aroma and aftertaste are highlighted when served neat.
Hot whisky and warm whisky cocktails are an uncommon yet exquisite way to enjoy whisky, and this service goes particularly well with the delicate profile of The Chita Single Grain Whisky. The warmth of the water within a Hot Toddy, for example, brings the whisky’s aroma to life, carrying it further than a chilled drink could.
Hot whisky also nicely accommodates a wide variety of garnishes to experiment with. Citrus and cinnamon are natural choices here. Hot Chita Whisky is also perfect to enjoy outdoors in cool or breezy weather, making The Chita Single Grain Whisky an après-ski essential.
The natural lightness of Chita Japanese Whisky gives it a flexibility for food pairings not found in other types of whisky. Its gentle flavors make it a wonderful accompaniment to delicate food such as soba and sushi.
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