Archive for the ‘Hanyu’ Category

Ichiro’s Five of clubs 1991 (18 year old) 57.4%

Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Hogshead/ Limited release of 372 bottles.

Dist: 1991 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Nov 2010

A rich, pungent nose of malty dried fruit, figs and sultanas followed by an explosion of oak vanillins. Almost Bourbon-esque but without the earthiness.

The palate begins well enough with the malty dried fruits that were found on the nose, but then the wood really bitters out the middle and youare picking splinters out of your tongue. The wood flavoursare intriguing however with a cedary, camphor character coming through on the finish. I wondered at the time if there was some Japanese wood at play here. (It later turns out I was right!)

With water the wood runs rampant on the nose. It has an almost Oloroso richness now along with a slight damp/ mushroomy note. On the palate it has become sweeter, but a lot less complex and a tad watery. It seems as if the water strips away most of the wood complexity and leaves a slightly jaded and butyric spirit behind. With a price tag ofaround £130, I was definitely disappointed.

Ichiro’s The Joker 57.7%

Final release in the cards series. A vatting of casks distilled at the Hanyu distillery in 1985, 86, 88, 90, 91 and 2000. Aged in Sherry butts, Puncheons, Ex-Cognac, Ex-Madeira hogsheads, Ex-Bourbon and Chibidaru (Ichiro’s custom made quarter casks)

Limited release of 3640 Bottles

Btl: 2014

Tasted: Jan 2015

Now that is a nose! You might have thought that the use of all these different cask types might have been a recipe for disaster, but Ichiro’s skilful blending has created amazingly complex whisky in which you can pick out all the different wood notes. It opens with plenty of dusty, exotically spiced sherry notes – cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange, raisin, prune and ginger followed by some grapey sweetness and biscuit notes from the Madeira along with honey and dark chocolate. The distinct, grainy French oak notes appear as does some toffee’d American oak and some more mature sawdusty American oak. Finally a light resiny note appears, possibly from some Mizunara along with a touch of cedar, fern and grainier spices.

The palate opens quite subtly with the mature sherry showing first with dried prune, walnut, fig, raisin, spicy redcurrant and building dusty spices. Like the nose it has an amazingly complexity of wood character with hints of resiny Mizunara oak comes through along with sawdusty American oak and a light honeyed grapiness from the Madeira casks. Hints of dark and milk chocolate appear along with oodles of bittering spice, liquorice, dark toffee, citrus peel, cigar tobacco and herbal tannins. Very long and full with the dried fruit taking on an old Armagnac-esque character. The after-taste is a little dry and dusty as the tannins and alcohol combine, but wow! What a finish!

Ichiro’s Malt ‘The Joker’ 57.7%

Re-Tasted: Mar 2015

Nose: Intense, pungent aromas of herbal, coffee’d sherry. Intensely spicy too with cinnamon, clove and coriander seed. With time a light Cognac-esque rancio appears. Water softens, bringing out a touch of orange and emphasising the dried fruit.

Palate: Intense, with coffee’d tannic wood notes to begin with. Quite raw but juicy with raisins and dried white grape. Neat the alcohol is quite masking. Water makes it a little less intense but emphasises the juiciness.

Finish: Good length with lingering dried fruit, marzipan and coffee.

Conclusion: Now this is how I like my sherry matured whiskies, with a bit of age and oxidation notes to add character.