This was a whisky that I hadn’t really intended to buy. I was lucky enough to attend a Japanese whisky tasting evening at the awesome Weber and Trings, where we sampled two Yamazakis, two Hibikis and two Hakushus. I loved the Hakushu 12 and set out to buy it, but could only find it in a very select few places. The last place that I tried said that they had one last bottle, which I quickly purchased, Sadly once I had ordered, it transpired that it was not available. As an apology they sent me this bottle at a discount. So, you find me drinking it from a straight glass in the comfort of my lounge.
Aroma: Never has a whisky smelt so powerfully of apple. This central scent of sweet apple juice is set against the other notes, which are floral and sweet, like a caramel.
Taste: The initial note is vanilla, but that apple flavour comes rushing through. It is less strong here in the taste than in the aroma, but still sweet and fruity. This is warmly combined with a grassy, fresh flavour that is summery and breezy. My mind is transported to sunny days spent reading in a field, surrounded by spring flowers and being bathed in warm sun. There are other flavours hidden too, maybe cucumber or pine nuts.
As this whiskies flavour matures in the mouth, it becomes sharper, with woodiness and smoke. This flavour is however still fruity and sweet. What remains longest is the green smoke, which reminds me of burning pine on a woodland floor.
Mouthfeel: Light, Sweet and Yet Full Flavoured. Drying and Fruity.
Overall: This sits well in the Suntory stable. Its smoothness and elegance remind me of the Yamasaki, but its greeness and piney quality set it apart. Somehow it feels less rounded than some other Suntory whiskies, almost missing a cutting edge or a killer note. Still fantastic and different, but not quite at the same standard as the Yamasaki 12 for me.
Aroma – 16
Start – 17
Middle – 16
Finish – 16
Value – 16
Overall – 81/100
More Information: Suntory Hakushu
Available: Masters of Malt