By Emma Briones
A few weeks ago, Suntory took a step forward: The Chita Single Grain officially arrived in Europe. Launched in 2015, it was at first only available in Japan, and then later launched worldwide for Travel Retail. Now you can find this single grain in most specialist shops in Europe and, maybe, get one in the US.
The Chita Single Grain is the evolution of Suntory’s Chita Grain whisky, which in 2009 won the award for Best Japanese Grain Whisky at the World Whisky Awards. It is produced at the Chita Distillery, located in Aichi Prefecture on the Pacific coast of Japan. This distillery is also the home of some of Suntory’s blends, producing the foundation of whiskies like Hibiki.
Chita produces three different kinds of grain spirit, as the distillery utilizes a process of continuous distillation with multiple columns. First, there is a strong grain spirit distilled with two columns. There is also a medium grain spirit distilled through three columns and, finally, a still smoother spirit distilled through four columns.
All three spirits are used in The Chita Single Grain, blended with a recipe created by Keizo Saji, the second Master Blender of Suntory, by current Master Blender Shinji Fukuyo. He wanted to create a whisky that reflected the Japanese craftsmanship and nature.
The Chita Single Grain is matured in three different kinds of casks: American ex-bourbon barrels, Spanish Oak barrels and European Oak wine barrels. This NAS whisky is bottled at 43% ABV (86º proof).
The Chita Single Grain comes in an indigo gift box with the name of the whisky in the traditional Japanese calligraphy. The bottle is similar to those of Yamazaki’s and Hakushu’s, though this one is crystal clear. In the glass, the whisky is straw-colored and has medium tears.
On the nose, it is smooth and fresh. The Chita Single Grain is a floral whisky with notes of fresh fruit. There is a nice touch of lemon that blends with mango, banana, and pears. There are also some vanilla and caramel notes, mixed with a soft spicy touch.
The Chita Single Grain is mellow and has a medium body. Smooth and light, its fruitier side slowly comes to the forefront on the palate. There are intense mango and banana notes, balanced with a sweet touch of vanilla. Little by little, the honey takes the lead and mixes well with the spices. There is a slight touch of cardamom that joins the final oak notes.
The finish is intense and longer than expected. Some vanilla and fruit notes remain on the palate, with a light spicy touch.
The Chita Single Grain is a fresh and well-balanced whisky, as good as other Suntory whiskies. Sweet and fruity, it shows the typical notes of a Single Grain. It is a perfect whisky for a summer evening, able of showing different layers and nuances.
In the UK it’s retailed at £52.50, with prices in the rest of Europe going from €50 to €55 depending on the country. You may find it in the US for $55.