Hanyu 2000-2012, Chibidaru Cask, Ichiro’s Malt

I’ve only reviewed one other release from Hanyu, a closed Japanese distillery. That was back in 2013, not too long after I’d started the blog, and I see that in that review I’d threatened a review of another cask of Hanyu. This whisky is not that one—I think I know which one that was supposed to be but I have no idea where the hell that sample disappeared to. Maybe I drank it and forgot to review it? This particular whisky was distilled in 2000, the year Hanyu stopped production. It’s another in the Ichiro’s Malt series—named for Ichiro Akuto, best-known now for the Chichibu distillery. I don’t really follow Japanese whisky very closely—what would be the point when there’s so little worth drinking that’s affordable these days?—and so I don’t really know if there are still casks of Hanyu emerging, or for that matter what the story is with Chichibu. Anyway, this one was bottled in 2012 for the Tokyo International Bar Show and was finished in quarter casks (that’s what the “chibidaru” refers to). Let’s see what it’s like. Continue reading


Hanyu, Ichiro’s Malt: The Game

Ichiro's Malt: The Game
I know almost nothing about Hanyu, the closed Japanese distillery. My understanding is that this is in a series of malts released by Ichiro Akuto, the scion of the family that owned Hanyu, after the closure of the distillery. Akuto is now the proprietor of the young distillery Chichibu, of which I have heard good reports. There have been a number of releases in the “The Game” series; this is, I believe, the first. The labels in the Ichiro’s Malts series have striking designs, mostly based on playing cards (though none are quite as striking as some of the other labels I’ve seen on Hanyu bottles, one of which may make an appearance in the weeks ahead).

Hanyu, 9, 2000, “Ichiro’s Malt: The Game” (61.2%; from a sample received in a swap)

As per the excellent Japanese Whisky Review, this was bottled for Shinanoya in Japan and is a vatting of whisky matured in American white oak and refill bourbon casks. Continue reading