Hakushu Single Malt is one of Japan’s great single malts. Hakushu Distillery produces the malt. And, It stands in the rich forest surrounding Mt. Kaikomagatake, part of the Japanese Southern Alps. It claims title to being the highest distillery in the world. Interestingly, the 12-Year Hakushu resembles a Highland malt in character.
Like a Highland, the peat accents tend to remain in the background while fruity elements such as apple and pear come to the front. In fact, some of the whisky spends time in barrels that once stored plum liqueur. The result is a unique experience of spice and smoke and tropical fruit, and a delicate, delicious sweetness balanced by a hint of tartness.
In Japan, the bulk of the whisky is consumed with meals or in cocktails, notably as whisky highballs. And while Scotch has been traditionally shunned by mixologists, Japanese whisky has been welcomed with open arms. In addition to soda (in a highball), Japanese whisky is often mixed with hot water, particularly in winter, or cold water, particularly in summer, as is done with shōchū.
Hakushu Single Malt 12yr
Producer: Suntory Distilling Company
Price Range: $$$$
Awards: San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2011, 12, 13, 14 & 16); Beverage Testing Institute 2013 (92); Wine Enthusiast 2013 (90) 2015 (91)
Tasting Notes —
Color: champagne gold
Nose: basil, pine needle, green apple
Palate: sweet pear, mint, kiwi
Finish: green tea, subtle smoke
$$$$$ = Greater than $100
$$$$ = $80 – 100
$$$ = $50 – 80
$$ = $30 – 50
$ = Less than $30
Further Ratings & Reviews
There are many websites and blogs that do an excellent job of reviewing and rating whiskies. As mentioned above The Whiskybits Composite Score is based on an average of at least three reviews conducted by industry leaders. The reviews sites normally referenced include The LA Whisk(e)y Society, The Whisky Reviewer, Proof 66, The Whisky Advocate and The Whisky Jug.