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Hakushu distillery is located in the Southern Japanese Alps and is owned by Suntory, one of the big two Japanese single malt distillers. The distillery started operating in 1973 on the 50th anniversary of the start of construction of its sister distillery, Yamazaki. Nowadays all Hakushu single malt is produced in Hakushu Higashi, a second distillery that was built on the same site in 1981. Hakushu no-age statement was first released in 2012.
The nose is typically Hakushu: light, grassy and fruity, although a little bit subdued if compared with the 12yo. There are mostly citrus notes, interspersed with vanilla and lemon, and a whiff of smoke at the end. A lightweight of a nose but still delightful!
The palate is light-bodied, almost bordering onto watery at the beginning but quickly gains in profile and becomes quite peppery. Again there are distinct citrus notes, followed by menthol. Somebody detected almonds in here and I have to say I agree.
The finish is short and dry, ending in a mouth-coating fruitiness of lemon, peach and menthol.
I am very pleasantly surprised by this Hakushu. I tasted this from a 180ml bottle that I finished in two days! Arguably the palate is the weakest part of this whisky, being a bit bland and generally lacking in individuality. But I liked the nose for its refreshing simplicity and the finish for boisterously coating my mouth with a wave of fruity elements. For those times when you just want to quietly sip a whisky without wanting to evaluate its many facets, give this one a try.