環球美酒盡在 Sipping Malt 微醺之醉 www.sippingmalt.com
English version at page bottom
Hanyu 羽生蒸餾所，是由 Akuto 家族所建立。Akuto 的家族釀酒事業，源起於 1626 年於 Chichibu 秩父市建立的清酒業務。家族的第十九代傳人 Isouji 於 1941 年於 Hanyu 羽生市建立了一所蒸餾廠，當時仍然是二戰期間，物資理應非常短缺，但 Isouji 卻於當時建廠，不知是否另有故事。酒廠的正式牌照於 1946 年戰後才獲發出。
酒廠於八十年代添置了一對銅壺蒸餾器，生產傳統蘇格蘭風格的威士忌。羽生於 1990 年發行了一款名為 Chichibu 的單一麥芽威士忌, 向其家族事業的發源地致敬 (此 Chichibu 威士忌可不是今天的 Chichibu)。 羽生的單一麥芽威士忌是蘇格蘭的傳統風格， 採用優質材料和細緻工藝製作。
可惜的是, 羽生的命運和輕井沢相同, 同樣於千禧年停產, 同樣的敗於生不逢時, 走得太前。當時的市場, 仍然是由大眾化的調合威士忌主導, 未準備好接受羽生這種精品級的麥芽威士忌。
羽生於二零零四年正式閉廠, 買出營運設備和清酒的存貨。Akuto 家族的 Ichiro 先生買下威士忌的存酒, 他希望保存家族生意, 將來有朝一日重開酒廠, 東山再起。
Ichiro 很快便開了一間名為 Venture Whisky Limited 的新公司, 並隨即將買下的存酒裝瓶出售。他將產品重新包裝及市場定位, 將存酒款名為 “Ichiro Malt"。Ichiro Malt 很快便打出名堂, 受到國際市場的歡迎, 其後還嬴得好些國際性的掌項。Ichiro 於此開始了新的故事, 我將會於即將刊登的 Chichibu 秩父系列介紹, 屆時敬請收看。
現在羽生威士忌瓶裝仍會間中推出市場, 但今時今日羽生已經成為了備受追捧的熱門威士忌, 第一手正價酒款甫一上架(網),迅即售清。羽生在拍賣行亦開始走紅, 近期香港多場拍賣, 羽生的得標價亦甚高。
現在的羽生, 和輕井沢一樣, 已經幾乎開不下手, 成為了收贓品和投資投機的商品了。酒釀出來, 應該是用來喝的, 但近年威士忌炒風趨盛, 很多以往喝得起還喝過的酒, 現在已經變得高不可攀, 窮酒 L 如我等的, 只能望酒空歎, 呢喃著千金難買早知道, 早知道則賺萬金。
Hanyu 羽生 1988/2008, C# 9307, 534 bottles, 700 ml, 55%
Bottling for Full Proof Europe
Full Proof Europe 是威士忌愛好者 Jeroen Koetsier 買桶裝瓶酒款的名號, 一系列由 Hans Dillesse 設計的酒標, 充滿了西方漫畫風格帶性感意味的日本浮世繪….(其實我也不知道我自己在說甚麼), 就以這款暱稱 “Nice Butt" 的酒標, 即是呢….還是由讀者們自己領略吧。
English Version of Tasting Note
Hanyu is the name of a Japanese whisky distillery and its whisky label. The founder family of Hanyu Distillery, Akuto was original running the Sake business. The family company was established in 1626 in the town of Chichibu. The 19th generation of the family, Isouji Akuto built a spirit factory in Hanyu city and commenced production in 1941 while official license was granted in 1946.
In the 1980’s, Hanyu installed a pair of pot stills and began the production of Scotch style whisky. In 1990, Hanyu launched single malt whisky named Chichibu which saluted to the origin of Akuto family business. The single malt of Hanyu was truly traditional Scotch style. Hanyu used the top grade of materials and finest craft in production of its malt whisky.
Unfortunately, Hanyu’s fate is somehow similar to Karuizawa. Hanyu stopped production in 2000, too. The cause of its failure is also similar to Karuizawa. The market was not ready to accept such a premium malt whisky. The market was still dominated by commercial blended whiskies at that time.
Hanyu was closed in 2004. The operation and stock of sake were sold. Mr. Ichiro, the heir of Akuto family, who has brewery academic background and had been worked for Suntory, acquired the remaining stock of Hanyu whisky on his own. He hoped to retain his family business and planed to re-open the distillery in the future.
Mr. Ichiro has founded a new company named Venture Whisky Limited in no time and subsequently starting to bottle the old stock for selling. He repacked and marketed the Hanyu whisky and named “Ichiro’s Malt". The Ichiro’s Malt earned reputation from the worldwide market and won some remarkable international awards. It is another story of Mr. Ichiro and I will tell in upcoming “Chichibu" series. Stay tuned.
At present, bottlings of Hanyu whisky are intermittently releasing to the market. Hanyu whisky now is hot in the market. Upon new bottling on shelf, stocks all gone just in minutes. Hanyu whisky is hot in auction houses, too. Most Hanyu whiskies were needed high price for hammer down in recent auctions in Hong Kong.
Hanyu whisky now becomes the collectibles and investment products. Prices of whisky are rising fast in recent years. Every time when I saw the labels which was affordable and tasted in past but now can only miss the good old days.
I will become rich if I knew before…..OK, introduce a Hanyu whisky, shall I?
Hanyu 1988/2008, C# 9307, 534 bottles, 700 ml, 55%
Bottling for Full Proof Europe
Full Proof Europe is the label of bottlings of owner cask for a whisky enthusiast Jeroen Koetsier and a series of label is designed by Hans Dillesse. The label design is inspired by Ukiyo-e but in Western comic style with sexual innuendo….(In fact I don’t know what I am talking about). As to the label of this dram, nick name “Nice Butt", that….well, better you guys imagine it.
Nose: Plastic, dried black date, tar, chocolate, licorice, cigar box
Palate: Toffee, chocolate, tar, liquorice, smokery, black tea, plastic
Aftertaste: Medium length, burnt wood, charred coffee, caramel, herb
Conclusion: Candy sweetness, chocolate and tea nutty and herbal bitterness, licorice refreshing, tobacco smoking, weird petroleum byproducts, somehow an unusual combination of favors but no explicit unpleasant imbalance。Rich in smell, strong in body, complex and layered, brilliant. However, not everyone likes those full course petroleum favor and a bit overly bitterness in aftertaste, I like it nevertheless. Very good dram to me such a weird guy.
P.S. This piece of article looks familiar? Yes, I write articles occasionally for some friends of mine who run wine and spirit business. Some or part of articles may be used for their business. I am lazy to write a new.