Ichiro's Malt Queen of Hearts
Hanyu 1990 (2006)
I have had fun tasting this international week, but I look forward to getting back to Scotland where my knowledge base is much wider and I wont need to research/spend as much time as I had to this week. Learned a lot though, and hope you learned something too.
This is a single cask, single malt whisky from Hanyu, a distillery that WAS located in the town of the same name on the banks of the Tone river. The Toa company that owned the distillery went bankrupt and stopped distilling in 2000. Under new owners, the site was was completely dismantled in 2004. Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founders of the Hanyu distillery, managed to save the maturing stocks and is planning to set up a new distillery.
This is one part in a series of releases on a theme (I think you get it, with the whole deck of cards thing; Queen of Hearts, 2 of clubs, Ace of Hearts, etc.) Other releases tasted at the Whisky Pages. I will taste another soon.
Ichiro Akuto has been quite lucky that the maturing casks are apparently quite good and pleasing palattes the world over. More detailed information on Hanyu at Nonjatta, the site for Japanese whisky (in English).
This particular cask was matured in an ex-bourbon Hogshead and then finished (what's this?) in an ex-Cognac French Oak cask. Again, big thanks to The Whisky Exchange for the taster.
Alive and energetic. Salt. Licorice. Spicy. Lime and cheescake. Wood, plaster, a building site. Some smoke that becomes more evident with water. As does an apple cider smell with more candied licorice, Bassetts Allsorts.
Soft, but active in all parts of the mouth, exciting. Plaster again, but a lot of oak and sweet pie-like flavours. Pecan pie. Black wine gums, white wine, dry oakiness that rides onto the finish with fresh fennel and some more spiciness. With water it tastes just like a warm pecan pie with cream. Cafe au lait. Pleasant shisha smoke aroma. Finish is more apricot and soft old peach now. Empty glass minutes later has gorgeous filter coffee and brown sugar scents.
Exciting, adventurous whisky. Busy and a whole lot of fun to drink and talk about. Great packaging/theme labelling. Comparisons for context? Tough one...toughest one this week! Um, Dalmore, Old Pulteney 17, Cragganmore, and Glenlivet French Oak.
One complaint/question? The screw top. If someone is spending these prices on whiskies, rare whiskies, one hopes they won't be consumed quickly. Do these caps allow more or less evaporation in the bottle? Once opened? Might be a concern for consumers and/or collectors. Am I wrong? Be in touch/comment.
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