I’m writing this review just after finishing The Irish Whisky Week, so in my mind I will be comparing this Hakushu to the peated Irish Connemara’s. I see that this is the first review I write about a Japanese Whisky outside of the Japanese Whisky Week, so it has been a while! Japan reminds me a bit of Ireland. Not a lot of distilleries, but bottles abundant. More exotic to the western world. Yet there is a big difference. You hardly encounter a very expensive Irish Whiskey, or it is from a bottle that was bottled B.C. Yes the occasional Bow Street bottle can cost you a pretty penny. Japanese Whisky, however do cost you an arm and a leg. Just look at the craze with Karuizawa and Hanyu for instance. Here we have a widely available NAS Japanese peated Single Malt Whisky. It’s Suntory Time!
Color: Light gold.
Nose: Oily and fatty peat, but not really upfront. Perfumy, elegant and floral. Sweet edible flowers. Vegetal. Hai, it seems to be more about flora than peata and smoka if you ask me. When it breathes for a while it gets less oily, and more sweeter and fruity (and thinner). When you let it breathe for a while, it develops into a more smoky type of Whisky, again showing it needs air (or some drops of water). Besides this all it also gives off some greenish and vanilla like notes. Young Whisky matured in American oak. The fruitiness develops into yellow fruits, that are becoming more and more “smellable”. Smoke, check.
Taste: Sweet, very tasty, fatty and young. Distant bonfire and again warming. Nice stuff. Hai, fruity, and nice slightly bitter peat. This couldn’t have come from Scotland. Scottish Whiskies are usually peatier and combined with an underlying sweetness and ashy smoke. This Hakushu is sweet all right but it isn’t hidden, the sweetness is there from the start. What’s very nice it the combination of upfront sweetness, very light peat, nice smoke is also its floral bit. Complex in the nose, and highly drinkable. Excellent. Heavily Peated? Maybe in a Japanese kind of way.
Very drinkable, I like it, but to my amazement, again a Whisky that is hardly available, and it wasn’t cheap to boot. Absolutely a young and very good Whisky of high quality, that again seems to be unobtainable. Bugger!