Hanyu Joker Ichiro's Malt
Hanyu Joker Ichiro's Malt, 57,7 %
At the recent whisky festival in Gothenburg (En Öl & Whiskymässa 2014) I was lucky enough to meet Ichiro Akuto, and to taste the final release in his famous "Card Series". The whisky is called Hanyu Joker Ichiro's Malt. This is a vatting of casks from many of the vintages that have been used in the card series so far.
The Joker includes the following vintages; 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 2000. 14 different casks og various types were used. The cask types were sherry butts, puncheons, ex-cognac, hogsheads, ex-madeira, ex-bourbon and chibidaru.
The Joker is bottled at 57,7 % and the total outturn is 3640 bottles.
The Joker will be the final expression in the Card Series. But there are in fact two jokers. In addition to the one I have tried here, which has a color label, there will be a monochrome version. This last version will be a single cask, distilled in 1985, and matured in a mizunara hogshead. I hope to be able to try the monochrome version as well, but I do not think it will be very likely. This is rare and expensive whisky.
Nose (24/25): Fresh and appealing nose from the first sniff. Lots of exotic spices (cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of ginger), chocolate (dark & dry as well as sweet), raisins, prunes, oranges, vanilla and caramel. The nose keeps developing over time. This is complex stuff, this might in fact be rocket science!
Taste (23/25): Again very complex, it is really hard to pin down individual tastes here, as it keeps dancing, shifting and swirling. There is definitely a fine tuned oakiness that forms a solid dance floor allowing the other tastes to perform more freely. It hits the balance perfectly between sweetness, dryness, acidity and body.
Finish (22/25): Dances on for a long time, until it ultimately gives you a sweet kiss farewell and swirls into the darkness of the night.
Balance (23/25): I realize these taste notes are not very specific, but believe me when I tell you that being specific is near impossible with this one. I love it, and I will try my best to secure a bottle or two. I do hope it will be made available in Norway!
Sláinte! - Thomas