The Chita is a single grain whisky produced by Suntory, the largest maker of alcoholic beverages in Japan. This expression has been named after the Chita Distillery, located in the Chita Peninsula, Japan.
It is one of the most recent releases from Suntory, having hit the local markets in Japan in 2015, followed by a wider worldwide release in 2016. The Chita Distillery is one of Suntory’s three whisky distilleries in Japan, and they own many different whisky brands and distilleries worldwide such as the Ardmore, Laphraoig, Bowmore, Jim Beam and more.
The Suntory brand started out in Osaka, Japan as a small store trading in wines and other products. Businessman Shinjiro Torii started his business in 1899, soon expanding operations to sell his own brand of fortified wine called Akadama Port Wine.
The success inspired Torii to expand further, and he soon began to draw up plans for Japan’s first ever whisky distillery. He renamed his firm Kotobukiya Company in 1921, and within two years, he realized his dream of building Japan’s first ever whisky distillery. Torii built the Yamazaki Distillery in Osaka with the help of Masataka Taketsuru.
Taketsuru was a young chemist who had completed his education at the University of Glasgow, and apprenticeship at a couple of Scottish distilleries like the Longmorn, and the Bo’ness. He would go on to establish his own distilleries, and the Nikka Whisky brand after ending his association with Torii’s Kotobukiya Company a decade later.
Torii was successful with the launch of his first ever whisky brand distilled in Japan, launched five years after distillation began at the Yamazaki Distillery. He named the whisky Suntory Shirofuda, also known as White Label. He would later adopt the Suntory name for his company many years later in 1963.
After Torii passed away, his son Keizo Saji took control of the company. Saji went on to build two new distilleries, the Chita grain whisky distillery in 1972, and the Hakushu malt whisky distillery in 1973. This helped Suntory expand their line of whiskies by offering single malt and blended whisky.
The Chita single grain whisky was the first ever grain whisky released by Suntory, except for a few special bottlings released in Japan from time to time. Suntory claim that The Chita is a grain whisky that is completely different than the ones used in blends.
The Chita single grain whisky carries no-age-statement, but has been matured in a combination of barrels. Suntory have opted to use a trio of barrels like ex-Sherry Spanish oak, ex-Bourbon American oak and wine barrels.
This is the first time Suntory have opted to widely release an expression from Chita, which had usually only witnessed special releases from time to time. Usually, grain whiskies from the Chita distillery are only used for Suntory’s blends like the Hibiki and Toki.
The Chita single grain distillery is bottled at 43% ABV, slightly higher than the standard limit for Japanese whiskies.
The Chita single grain whisky from Suntory has not won any major whisky tasting awards or medals yet.
Sweet, juicy tropical fruits. Zesty citrus and honey
Smooth with a great body. More of that tropical fruit and sweetness. Fresh mangoes, black-currant and juicy pineapples
Short, tasty and warming. Hints of oranges and honey