A tasting site dedicated to silent stills.

SMWS 131.2 Hanyu 13yo

Hanyu Distillery - Saitama Prefecture, Japan
SMWS bottling (purchase link).
WhiskyBase reference page

For info   Reviews on sshhh! aim to detail the flavours, feelings and quality of each dram, wrapped up in as little nonsense as possible (!). Each whisky is tried on its own and given time to speak out, even if they often talk gibberish.
Distillery profile   Silent for: 16 years   |   Existed for: 24 years   |   Type: malt
A sake distillery since the 17th century, the Akuto family began distilling whisky around 1980 but the venture never really succeeded, but thankfully the remaining stock was kept in the family and seems to have developed into something pretty well-received. - see Nonjatta - Hanyu for a detailed profile.

Tastes & Smells
From what I've had before, this is a classic Japanese sherry nose, much like a Karuizawa. Mushrooms, a ?'forest floor' but in a wood ('floor of a wood' sounded confusing..), dry sherry vibes but sweet smelling. Thick banana toffee, caramel and maple syrup. Musty and mahogany-y. In the mouth, there's rubber and big sherry. It's so chewy and gives so much - quite an unusual flavour, but fitting for a dry, Japanese sherry beast. Big, dry, toffee whisky. So dark. Chewy on the finish too.

Worth shouting about?
I asked for something Japanese at the bar that was perhaps a bit mad, and this certainly delivered. Its age worked in its favour as the sherry was pretty huge but it had this undercurrent of youth and vibrancy that worked really well. It wasn't exactly 'refined', but that was its beauty, I think. The sherry was just how I like it: big, but dry and mouth-tightening. It was like an oriental Glendronach, or a thick Glenfarclas. Amazing.

Summary & Ramblings
I'm starting to regret not getting into Japanese whisky earlier. Although I really enjoy the fruity, light peat of a Yoichi, it's the heavy, dry sherry ones that I really enjoy - chewy mushrooms! Yes! I got this dram at a decent price, but it's 19 a dram normally. It was really, really nice, but that's too steep. Silent stills, eh?


  Snapped on my phone as I wasn't expecting this little beast.

Big, chewy, dry sherry beast with mushroom and woody themes. It was big and gave a lot - certainly an experience, and a memorable one at that.

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