Japanese whiskies have been on an uptrend of late. Even the most casual of drinkers would have tried Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki. As they would probably say, “Wah, very smooth ah!”
One Japanese expression that has stayed out of the limelight is Suntory’s The Chita, a single grain whisky. But that is set to change, now that The Chita is officially available in Singapore. You can expect to see the bottle on the shelves of bars and respected retailers in the country. And yes, like its Suntory peers, The Chita is also very ‘smooth’.
Made at the Chita in Chita
The Chita is produced at the Chita distillery, located on the Chita Peninsula in Japan.
The distillery is a true workhorse, producing millions of litres of grain whisky every year for Suntory’s blends, including the Hibiki (yes, the Hibiki is a blended whisky, not a single malt whisky). Suntory describes the liquid from Chita as the ‘dashi’ or broth that enhances the harmony of Suntory blends. This distillery has been in operation since 1972.
Interestingly, the Chita distillery can produce three types of grain whiskies – clean, medium and heavy – by using either two, three or four columns (grain whiskies are distilled using column stills). Only corn is used in the mash. The distillate is matured in American White Oak casks, including puncheon, hogshead and bourbon barrels for a further layer of complexity. This way, Suntory’s master blenders can have more flavours to work with.
Wine and Spanish Influence
While the whiskies from the Chita distillery are great for Suntory’s blends, the master blenders felt that the spirit is not ready to be bottled on its own, until recently.
Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo aged Chita grain whisky in wine and Spanish Oak casks so that the distillate can have more flavours hence, increasing its depth and complexity. Fukuyo blends these spirits with the ones matured in American White Oak and the result is The Chita.
In essence, you’ll get a subtle, yet sensorially engaging whisky without the harsh notes typically associated with grain whiskies. It’s great in a tasting glass, but we reckon this whisky makes one of the best highballs ever.
Official Tasting Notes
Colour : Bright gold
Nose: Crème brûlée, cardamom, acacia honey, blossoming rose
Palate: Mild and smooth, hint of mint, deep honey
Finish: Clean and clear, spiced oak with subtle bittersweet notes