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This bottle was recommended to me by a fellow malt maniac in Japan. My review refers to the 2010 edition.
The nose is medicinal, with smoke from burnt leaves, vanilla, and a hint of brine. With water there is more smoke and ashes. The smoke is actually rather delicate and mixed with a distinct sweetness. Great!
The palate is very smooth and sweet at the beginning with some citrus notes, then pepper and spices kick in, resulting in a mouth-watering experience.
The finish is medium long, warm and dry.
All in all, this reminds me of a young Laphroaig (especially the nose) but it is much sweeter, with Hakushu's distillery character mainfesting itself quite distinctly. I enjoyed this very, very much!