Who's got game?
Next, we had some fascinating whiskies from the Land of the Rising Sun. First up was a pair of Hanyus from Ichiro called The Game, one from a Mizunara cask (release #2) and the other from a Red Oak cask (release #3). These are special bottlings for Japanese spirits retailer Shinanoya and I believe almost impossible to find now. Those labels are absolutely gorgeous if anything else!
The Game 2nd Edition: Smells and tastes like a forest with fresh oak and grass dominating the palate initially followed by a vanilla sweetness and spicy, zesty lemon aftertaste. The Mizunara cask definitely adds an interesting dimension to this one.
The Game 3rd Edition: Herbacious with a little bite and peppery kick followed by a sweet minty finish. A very fine and elegant dram but if I had to pick, the Mizunara cask would be my choice.
A rare treat - 23 year Hanyu
To round off the Japanese whisky tasting, we tried a 3rd Hanyu which was the Ichiro's Malt 8 of clubs. This one is another exciting experiment by Ichiro to take an old Hanyu Hogshead cask and finishing it in an American Oak Puncheon.
Comments: An intriguing nose with vegemite, pepper and whiff of smoke. The taste is heavy on spice with hints of pine nuts and cocoa with a moderate slightly salty finish.