It started three centuries ago when the first of Ichiro Akuto’s forefathers began making alcoholic beverages in countryside of Saitama, Japan. His grandfather opened the now legendary Hanyu Distillery in the mid-1940’s and began making malt whiskies that thrived right alongside the Japanese economic boom of the 1980’s. However, when the economic bubble burst in the 1990’s, so too did the first Japanese whisky boom, leading Hanyu Distillery and many others to close their doors indefinitely. Ichiro saved his grandfathers’ last remaining whisky casks and slowly released them in a variety of bottlings, to a surprisingly cold reception. His final release, The Playing Card Series, is now legendary with individual bottles being considered the unicorns of the Japanese whisky world. With this success Ichiro saw that the revival of artisan Japanese whisky was imminent and opened his own distillery in the beautiful Chichibu region two hours west of Tokyo. Uniquely, Chichibu Distillery also built its own cooperage and floor malting facility on site. The distillery is also the only in the world to use 100% Mizunara Japanese oak washbacks which creates the distinctly fruitier Ichiro’s Malt style of whisky. All of this coupled with continuing to mark heads and tails by nose and tasting DAILY rather than timed measurements adds to the illustrious status of this small yet impactful distillery. Akuto Ichiro is an icon of the whisky world, a 21st century whisky maker who embraces the heritage and heart of the Scots while perfectly executing the precision and art of the Japanese and their shokunin philosophy.