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The Hakushu 12 is an interesting one. In some ways it’s a light, easy sipper for a casual evening in front of the TV. In other ways it’s a complex whisky that demands your full attention. Leave it to the Japanese to make sense of such contradiction.
Nose: Apples, pears, honey, grass, earth, ginseng, oak, cinnamon, anise, and some subtle sherry. This has a soft, understated complexity.
Palate: Creamy arrival. A nice, rich caramel/honey note chimes in first. Some chocolate, pear, smoke, and anise, followed by some beautiful woody spices.
Finish: Some really bright, sweet, grassy oakiness. This is gently herbal and floral. Pears, apples, café latte, chocolate, quiet peat, and a beautiful woodspice carry on throughout the medium finish.
Like many of the Japanese whiskies I’ve tried, this is balanced with a very controlled, graceful complexity. For me, there seems to be something quite unique about Japanese oak. It imparts some very earthy, grassy, herbal notes along with the expected oak and woodspices. Such is the case here. I find this whisky to be both easy and accessible, but also quite complex and elegant. It will please those who want to sip casually, and satisfy those who want to explore it analytically. Beautifully balanced stuff. Recommended.