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The Hanyu distillery is no more. The firm goes back to the 17th Century, but only since 1980 do they distill whisky (before they made sake, of course) after installing two pot stills. The distillery was built during the Second World War in the town of the same name a little northwest of Tokyo, close to the river Tone. However, in 2000 it went belly up and in 2004 Hanyu was dismantled. Grandson Ichiro Akuto was able to salvage the stocks and started his range of Ichiro’s Malt. But that is a different story. Let us get back to the Hanyu 1990 single cask #9511.
The Japanese oak takes care of a nice nose with floral element (fresh flowers, including roses) and exotic fruit. Hints of cough syrup. Apple cake and citrus. Woodspice. Touch of smoke. This is very enticing. Becomes surprisingly fresh after a few moments. With water it offers both more spices and citrus.
It is syrupy and honeysweet, but very spicy. Phew! Nutmeg, cloves and black pepper. Apple cake and citrus return, this time in the form of oranges. Candied orange peel. Hint of coffee. It can cope with water. That makes it fresher, but also more floral (but never too much so).
The finish is very long and drying, but the spices have the final word.
Very nice whisky in which the Japanese oak, Quercus Mongolica, shows what it can do.