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Hakushu distillery is located in the Southern Japanese Alps and is owned by Beam Suntory. 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. This no age-statement expression is an original store bottling for Whisky Shop W. in Osaka and was released in 2011.
The nose starts off with distinct flavours of malt and cereal, with soft smoke in the background. Next, there are notes of oranges and grapefruits, together with a hint of lemon. Adding water brings forth more fruity flavours but does not necessarily improve the overall nosing experience.
The palate is medium-bodied and just a bit spicy. The lemon notes are back, together with vanilla and a touch of mint at the end. With water the smoke that appeared to have been hidden finally develops. Lovely.
The finish is of medium length, spicy and dry. Now there are flavours of honey together with a little vanilla and again some mint at the very end.
I had some fun with this sample of an unusual Hakushu – many thanks for providing this, Clint A.! The flavours took time to develop and some of them, like the grapefruit and mint notes, I had not tasted in a Hakushu before. Interesting, but then I rather prefer the standard 12-year old expression.