*Image from Shinanoya’s Rakuten Site*
As you probably know already, Hanyu is one of the now silent Japanese distilleries. As the stocks dwindle away the demand rises accordingly. The majority of Hanyu expressions come in the form of the Ichiro’s Card Malt Series. A fun and often eclectic mix of different age statements and cask types are intermittently released by Ichiro Akuto. This Hanyu expression was specially bottled for one of Japan’s best whisky retailers – Shinanoya. This is the follow up from their first The Game bottling and it went fast. I believe it sold out in pre-order and didn’t even make it to the stores. Akuto-San played around with the finishing cask some by replacing the bourbon barrel heads with Mizunara heads. This means the original staves from the bourbon barrel remained the same but now some Mizunara wood was being integrated into the aging/finishing process with the heads (top and bottom of the cask) being replaced with Mizunara wood.
Hanyu The Game bottled for Shinanoya ~$85
Bottled: November 2011 @59.4% ABV
Cask: No. 917 Mizunara Headed Hogshead
Bottle Number 37 of 309
Color: Medium yellow and gold
Nose: Big oily incense notes, sweet, cedar wood, earthy, each time I nose it there is something else, cola/soda, layers and layers of spice and fragrant wood, nutmeg, old wood furniture.
Mouth: Wow! – that about sums it up…An initial layer of natural sugar sweetness, followed up by the intense fragrant wood flavors, again layers of it, spices and a nice malty backbone.
Nose: Dustiness, same fragrant wood, a little sharper on the spices.
Mouth: More on the malt, loses some of the fragrant wood/incense, heading more towards the familiar flavors of a Scottish Whisky now, drying.
Comments: This is one of the better malts that I have had in recent memory. A feisty youngin’ but with an amazing depth of flavor. The touch of the Mizunara influence really added another dimension to this one. I wish I was able to pick up more of this one. – Chris