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Japanese whisky maker Ichiro Akuto has reached an agreement that American whisky lovers have been waiting for for years. In an email exchange this weekend, he advised that he has agreed to an import agreement with Chicago-based Tenzing Wine & Spirits.
(Update: Tenzing’s Ken Frederickson told WhiskyCast in an email that his company will assist with the rollout, but the actual importer of record will be New York City-based Domaine Select Wine & Spirits. )
Akuto’s family has made sake in Japan for four centuries, and his family opened the Hanyu Distillery in 1941. The distillery’s owners stopped producing at Hanyu in 2000, and dismantled the stills in 2004. Akuto was able to acquire the remaining stocks of Hanyu single malt and the distilling equipment, and opened his own Chichibu distillery in 2008.
In 2011, he released the last expressions from the Hanyu stocks, along with Ichiro’s Malt: Chichibu the First One, the initial 3-year-old single malt from his new distillery. Pending U.S. label approval, he advises that that will be the first of his whiskies to be available in the U.S. market.