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In 2014, Ichiro Akuto released the final bottlings of the Hanyu Card series, both called Joker: one with a colour label, the other with a monochrome one. This review refers to the ‘Colour’ version, a vatting of casks from several vintages (1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 2000) and different cask types (sherry butt, puncheon, ex-cognac, hogshead, ex-madeira, ex-bourbon and chibidaru). The total outturn was 3,640 bottles, considerably more than for the ‘Monochrome’ version which was a single cask bottling.
The nose is rich, perfumy but also a bit earthy. There are intense flavours of wood spice and sawdust, quite exotic such as in sandalwood. Interesting! Then notes of orange peel and vanilla develop, together with a touch of honey. With water the wood influence diminishes and mint flavours develop, together with more vanilla.
The palate is full-bodied and spicy. Wood spice again plays a major role, together with flavours of ginger and cinnamon. Also, there are notes of marzipan and mango. Sweet and again rather exotic. With water the palate turns mellow although the spiciness has slightly increased.
The finish is of medium length, spicy and very dry. The cinnamon notes are back, together with more honey.
Without doubt, the ‘Colour’ Joker is a complex and multifaceted Hanyu, rich in exotic flavours and rather woody. It reacted well to water and it is worthwhile to experiment in case you have got more than just a sample at your disposal. I liked the nose best: sweet, earthy and fruity. A worthy end to the Card series!