“All hail the King!”
The kingdom of whisky connoisseurs is abuzz with a new monarch, who has claimed the throne in grand style – The HANYU 1986/2009 23YO 55.4% King of Hearts. This ethereal elixir, beaming from bottle number 196 of an exclusive 444, is a royal treat for the senses. This is not merely a bottle of whisky; it’s a precious piece of Japan’s liquid history, encased in glass and sealed with a royal seal of quality.
The HANYU 1986 is an alchemical marvel hailing from a now-defunct distillery, a phoenix from the ashes, if you will. Its birthplace, the Hanyu distillery, existed from 1941 to 2000 and was the brainchild of Isouji Akuto, a visionary, a legend, and a purveyor of some of the finest Japanese whiskies ever made. Today, the remnants of its golden era are found in these rare and increasingly collectible bottlings.
Our King of Hearts is part of a captivating collection of 58 releases, a full house of liquid gems known as the Ichiro’s Malt Card Series. Each bottle boasts a label featuring one of the 52 playing cards, two jesters, and a second batch of releases accompanying the original 2005 court cards. As unique as a fingerprint and as tantalizing as a forbidden fruit, every release has become a bona fide collector’s item and a precious paragraph in the grand narrative of Japanese whisky.
“Witty, whimsical, and wildly complex,” notes whisky critic Fred Minnick, adding a touch of drama to the palate conversation. “It’s a carnival of flavors that keeps you coming back for more.” A cascade of flavors awaits within the King of Hearts, beginning with inviting notes of sweet cherry blossom and ripe peaches, followed by an enchanting dance of caramel, spice, and a whisper of dark chocolate. All these complexities are enclosed in a velvety swirl of oak, which presents an artful finish that is both intense and satisfyingly smooth.
The King of Hearts is a distillation of Japan’s spirit, celebrating the country’s unique whisky-making heritage and its dedication to excellence. The enchanting charm of this bottle lies not just in the amber liquid it houses, but also in the intricate narrative it weaves around the Hanyu distillery, the Card Series, and the unforgettable era they symbolize.
With a 94 rating from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, this charismatic king has won hearts across the globe, charming both critics and connoisseurs alike with its sophisticated palate and characterful history. This is an investment-grade spirit, but one where the return lies as much in the pleasure of savoring as in the appreciation of the bottle’s value.
“All hail the King!” exclaims whisky enthusiast and critic Malt Mark, an eloquent testimony to the spellbinding allure of this rare Japanese elixir. One sip of the HANYU 1986/2009 23YO 55.4% King of Hearts, and you’ll find yourself in a game where every hand is a winning one. So, here’s to raising a toast to royalty, and immersing oneself in the opulent world of one of Japan’s most mesmerizing whisky expressions.