Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Ace of Spades

Not being an adept in the sometimes mind-bendingly complex (for me anyway) world of Hanyu/Ichiro bottlings and releases, I got myself all confused trying to work through the apparent discrepancies in accounts and details of this one, having purchased a sample from

Long story short (and as I'm sure many are well aware), there were two releases - a year apart - from the same barrel, with this, the second one, coming in 0.7% stronger than the first.
Both were from a hogshead (#9308) that was transferred around 19-20 years later (at some point in either late 2004 or 2005), to a Spanish Oak Sherry Butt for finishing. So this release got 15 months in the butt (bottled 2006), and the 1st (bottled 2005) got 4 months.

Thanks must go to Dramtastic and Whisky Saga whose reviews clarified all that for me.

Hanyu 1985, Ichiro's Malt Ace of Spades 2nd Release, 21 Year Old 55.7%

Nose: At first pour there's a strong scent of warm cola. This is followed quickly by orange, dates, sweet toffee and sherry spice. After more time, some roasted nuts emerge too, with a touch of leather. It's pretty huge. Water doesn't do a whole lot to the nose, beyond toning things down a fraction.

Palate: Spicy, mouth coating and thick, but the palate still feels pretty lively. There's a heap of sweet dried fruit, along with licorice, exotic spices and (brazil?) nuts. A touch of sulphur too. It becomes increasingly expansive with time, searching and warming.
Water broadens the palate a little, and brings out even more toffee sweetness.

Finish: Numbing and slightly astringent but still quite sweet with toffee and dried fruit. Long. A bit of sandshoe-rubber right at the tail. Water increases the sweetness here on the finish somewhat too.

A big old sherry monster, but jam-packed full of interest in that uniquely Japanese way. Readily drinkable without water despite its strength, it's very nice and eminently satisfying. The closest thing I've had to this recently would have to be a SMWS bottling of Karuizawa (132.5), with which I reckon it shares several characteristics.

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