Friday 27 February 2015

Tasted #159 - #163: Ichiro's Malt Cards Series (Hanyu) Ace of Diamonds, Yamazaki Mizunara 2014, Miyagikyo 1987, Hanyu from the last year of production...and more!

A few weeks ago we posted a review of the fantastic Zoetrope bar in Tokyo, Japan, as part of a trip Steph and I recently took to Japan. As with every bar we visited, we tasted some amazing, rare, unusual (and generally, insanely cheap) whiskies.

Here are the five we tasted at Zoetrope (who conveniently are happy to serve most drams by the half-dram), including not just any Ichiro's Malt "Cards" bottling, but an Ace! Sadly (but unsurprisingly) they'd run out of their Colour Joker stocks...

Ichiro's Malt (Hanyu) "Cards" series Ace of Diamonds (56.4% ABV, 21yo, Bottle #407 of 527, Cask 9023, Hanyu, Japan, no longer available)
Distilled in 1986, bottled in 2008. Two casks: Hogshead & Cream Sherry Butt
Colour: Dark red-copper.
Nose: Rich, Sherried, sweet, raspberries, some almond.
Palate: Leather, oak, spice, big spice. A little sweetness - bubblegum, wine gums, and some apricots.
Finish: Drying and tannic. After a fantastic nose and palate, the finish lets it down slightly...but only slightly.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Despite the slight disappointment on the finish, still a fantastic whisky.

Nikka Single Cask Malt Whisky (Miyagikyo) 1987 (62% ABV, 17yo, Bottle #4, Cask #89698, Sendai, Japan, no longer available)
Distilled in November 1987, bottled in August 2005.
Colour: Intensely dark
Nose: Plums and port.
Palate: Lots of juicy plum notes. Lets you know it's packing 62% ABV, but that's not to say it's harsh. Hot yes, but not harsh. Water really brings out sweet toffee notes.
Finish: Drying, tannic, medium length. Lots of oak. Water lengthens the finish (unsurprising given the ABV).
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. Better with a few drops of water.

Yamazaki Mizunara 2014 (48% ABV, NAS, 1 of 1,600 bottles, Yamazaki, Japan, ¥25,000)
Colour: Bright orange
Nose: Spiced, chilli, vanilla and coconut. Lots of coconut (a feature of all Mizunara-matured whiskies we nosed during the trip).
Palate: Spicy, possibly one of the spiciest whiskies I've tried. Peppers and chilli.
Finish: Cayenne pepper, turning into pure coconut. Very long.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. I probably wouldn't drop the asking price on a bottle (though even if I wanted to, I'm sure all 1,600 are now spoken for, but an enjoyable and very unusual whisky nonetheless).

Ichiro's Malt (Chichibu) Zoetrope Banzai 8th anniversary bottling (62% ABV, 4yo, bottle #25 of 79, cask #609, Chichibu, Japan, not for sale)
Distilled Nov in 2009, bottled in June 2014 to celebrate the bar's 8th anniversary.
Colour: Orange sunset
Nose: Play dough (it's clearly young) but very smooth. Pineapple too.
Palate: Meaty. Some plastic, crayons. But rich tropical fruits too. Very, very good.
Finish: The only disappointing part. Medium length, tannic and slightly sour.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Bloody good whisky, let down only slightly by a finish that reminds you that this is still very young, and has some less than favourable notes that haven't quite left it yet.

Ichiro's Malt (Hanyu) Shot Bar Zoetrope 3rd anniversary bottling (60.7% ABV, 9yo, bottle #158 of 263, cask #9800, Chichibu, Japan, not for sale)
Distilled in 2000, the last year of Hanyu's production. Partially matured in a rum cask and bottled in 2009 to celebrate Zoetrope's 3rd anniversary (how many bars can say they have two whiskies bottled specifically for them? Zoetrope actually have 3...)
Colour: Orange sunset
Nose: Bacon. Bacon. Some more bacon, and then, for a change, bacon. So much bacon. A few drops of water brought about some smoke too. Smoky bacon. Yes please!
Palate: Intense bacon-ness. Water brings about even more bacon, but also adds smoked BBQ flavours and dried fruits - apples and sultanas.
Finish: Long and hot. Some smoke, quite a bit of vanilla sweetness.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. Not my favourite of the night, but still a fantastic whisky (especially if you like bacon. Mmm, bacon...)

If you ever get the chance, visit this bar.


No comments:

Post a Comment