Archive for the ‘Hakushu’ Category

Hakushu Distillers Reserve 43%

Tasted: Oct 2015

A fresh and crisp nose with youthful but fragrant barley. Hints of acacia honey, juicy apricot, orange with plenty of stony/ mineral notes. Quite Spey-like with developing fern and citrus notes.

The palate is young and fresh with barley, crisp minerals and a little sweet oak. Quite mouth-filling and herbal with vanilla oak coming through on the middle. Good citrus finish with a little spirit note but the intensity is impressive.

Suntory Hakushu 12 year old 43.5%

Tasted: Mar2011

A delicate and fragrant nose reminiscent of forest floors, bracken and ferns floats above a beautifully clean base of honeyed barley, gentle peat and citrus fruit. The oak sits pleasantly in the background and doesn’t impinge upon the overall freshness of thearomas.

The palate is as delicate as the nose, but don’t mistake that for a lack of depth. It opens with some crisp barley and citrus followed by herbal/ grassy notes. There is a lovely, pure peat/ coal dusty middle leading into a juicy, lightly honeyed and floral finale. Just like the nose the oak sits in the background adding a weight of oily vanillins and spice.

Suntory Hakushu 12 year old 43%

Batch L3158A

Re-Tasted: Oct 2014

The nose opens with an intensity of oily barley with hints of fern, apricot, lemon, honey, aniseed and tobacco smoke. Some beautifully sawdusty oak comes through and makes it feel older than 12 years. The nose definitely seems to have put on weight since the last time I tasted it.

Full and oily on the palate with chunky barley and hints of fern, sweet vanilla and white liquorice. Those herbal notes really build on the middle and the grainy oak begins to encroach. Stunning length. Quite mouth-watering but the honey balances the alcohol beautifully. Although the finish is a touch on the dry side the sugars stop it from being puckeringly dry. Lovely, lightly coffee’d after-taste. Damn that’s good!

Suntory Hakushu 18 year old 43.5%

American Oak/ Bottle No: 023814/ Tasted: May 2012

A lovely, burnished gold colour. The nose is rather mature and oily with some luscious, sweet, mature honey, barley along with a touch of peat. Quite foresty in character with hints of pine and bracken. With time it becomes very aromatic. Stunning depth with a good dollop of American oak.

Full and juicy on the palate. Soft, honeyed barley mingles with plenty of oak. It becomes quite herbal on the middle and the alcohol gives it a lovely mouth-watering character. Seriously intense with a smidge of peat and more than a smidge of oak which bitters the finish a tad. Maybe it grips a little too much but I feel there is just enough mature honeyed sweetness to balance.

With water the nose opens to display some sub0tropical fruit amidst the oak. In fact it has an old Glenrothes-like character to it with the oak becoming slightly sawdusty. With time some linseed oil and toffee emerges. The palate has become lighter and oilier, now showing a lovely granulated sugar sweetness. Softer and with the taming of the alcohol some dried apricot and sultana shows. Also the oak isn’t as intrusive but it does still bitter the finish a bit. Good length with a very ferny, herbal finish.

Hakushu 25 year old 43%

WWA 2016 Best Japanese Single Malt

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: The nose reeks of mature Oloroso and luxurious dried fruit cake, plum jam, treacle, baked apple and hints of wispy, smoky incense and soft spice.

Palate: Full and unctuous with mature, spicy Oloroso and Armagnac seeped prune, walnuts, raspberry and a plethora of dried citrus fruit. Again gentle smoky incense and supple spices.

Finish: Long, mouth-watering and succulent with the tannins gripping a little but the treacle offsets.

Conclusion: A fabulously mature sherry matured whisky.

Suntory Hakushu ‘Heavily Peated’ 48%

American Oak/ Tasted: May 2012

The nose opens with some sweet, gristy barley. Wonderfully aromatic and leafy with hints of grass, hay, parsley(?) and a good dollop of dry-peat. The oak vanillins ably support and it develops a sort of Caol Ila-like freshness, but the robustly sweet barley balances it rather well.

The palate is just like a peated Sauvignon blanc! Smoky and herbal with plenty of green fruit, grass and citrus. There is a touch of honey but the alcohol is keeping that locked away. Intense and slighty cereal middle (showing its youth) with a phenolic dry, herbal peat note coming through and lingering. Wonderfully fresh and concentrated.

With water the nose becomes stripped back and even fresher and slightly fatter. Precise gooseberry like aromas, more like a herbaly-peated new world Sauvignon now! The palate is maybe a touch sweeter and a bit simpler, but still very mouth-filling. The peat is gentler now but still quite intense. Lovely length with a hint of mocha on the finish. Seriously good stuff!

Suntory Hakushu Bourbon Barrel 48.2%

Tasted: June 2012

A lovely, crisp and herbaceous nose with hints of fennel, light menthol and mint. It has a serious grip and pungency. Gently spiced with some herbal, vanilla oak, adding some light bourbon-like overtones. Very fresh and inviting with a late hints of green banana and lime.

The palate follows the nose in being fresh and herbaceous. There is a greater degree of oak character which adds cream and light coffee notes. However the minty, leafy herbs resist and hold the high ground, especially on the middle. A very crisp and mouth-watering finish with some delightful, light, tropical fruit and sweet barley. Amazing length and with a wonderful herbal/ sweet balance. Those herbaceous notes linger right through to the end. Poetry in a glass!