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83 points

Hanyu 5 of Diamonds 2000, 57%

This, with finishing time in sherry wood, is the most straightforward of the quartet, showing lovely touches of Seville orange rather than heavy dried fruits. With water there’s a slight meaty/new leather note that seems a more natural companion to Hanyu’s density, here with an extra earthy note from black cherries, juniper, and star anise. Water triggers tannins but there’s enough fruit here to balance. The most successful of the four, with the wood in balance. ¥8,500

Reviewed by: (Summer 2013)

83 points

Hanyu 6 of Hearts 1991, 57.9%

Finished off in a 500-liter American oak puncheon, this has typical Hanyu robustness with a burnt edge hinting at roasted corn. A little touch of fresh varnish and wax polish adds a savory air before fruits come through: strawberry, sloe, and plum. The palate is, to this mouth, very, very hot. Water reveals more dense fruit, and on the palate there’s plenty of toasted oak, stewed rhubarb, and dry-roasted peanuts on the finish. A very solid example.¥12,000

Reviewed by: (Summer 2013)

81 points

Hanyu Ace of Clubs 2000, 59.4%

Ichiro loves Japanese oak (mizunara) and here’s a finished example. You need water, however, to be able to discern those characteristic incense notes. Without it, you’re in a world of vanilla and resin. The neat palate is hot but firm, with some red fruits and an allspice note. Water is needed, and does allow a fresh acidity to come through on the finish; sadly it also adds tannic bitterness. A tricky balancing act. ¥9,000

Reviewed by: (Summer 2013)

80 points

Hanyu 7 of Spades 1990 Cognac cask, 53.8%

Aged exclusively in cognac casks, here is Hanyu again showing its thick, earth-rooted solidity, even to the extent of some rootier elements showing. That said, on the nose, some water brings out jasmine, frangipani, and mace, with a light buttery note. It’s very spicy on the tongue: nutmeg mixed with bitter roots, but as with the Ace of Clubs, water just increases dryness. A bit too rigid for me. ¥14,000

Reviewed by: (Summer 2013)