Hakushu 12 Year

Hakushu: 12 Year (Japanese Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 43% ABV)

Visual: Banana yellowed grain.

Viscosity: Moderate thickness and quite fast moving streaks.

Nose: Spiced pears. Apple. Light oak. Light banana. Crumble and sugar. Custard. Water adds fudge and gin.

Body: Slight alcohol. Toffee. Custard. Pears. Crumble topping and sugar. Apples. Smooth. Treacle at the back. Water removes the alcohol touch and adds a huge more amount of green fruit.

Finish: Dry. Digestives. Treacle and apple. Water turns to fudge sweetness but actually increased the alcohol feel.

Conclusion: For me this is what Hakushu should be, and what it is all about. While I enjoyed the bourbon barrel version, that expression seemed to hide a lot of the elements that make the Hakushu spirit work under the bourbon influence. Here the spirit is wide open and in full flair for your enjoyment.

It is lovely, with soft green fruit, all pears and apples and very delicately done. There is a small amount of alcohol burn neat, but that vanishes with even the barest drops of water. Furthermore there is a sweet touch, the custard and toffee mixing with crumble topping. The imagery is plain to see, combining perfectly to give a gentle fruity dessert dram.

Too much water actually hurts the whisky, delicate as it is, and too much water is a surprisingly low amount. Add the water drop by drop to take off the burn and once that is gone add no more. Any more water actually adds an alcohol air and hurts the finish.

If you don’t make that mistake then you have a lovely gentle, but full of intricate flavour, whisky. It is possibly the best expressions of green fruit in a whisky I have encountered. Admittedly, currently that is a small range, but still. I would call it one of the best of the Japanese whiskies I have tried, dessert like and distinct, it is a delight.

Background: I drank the Hakushu 12 year a while back, and it was enjoying that which led me to buy Hakushu bourbon barrel. Seeing that The Tasting Rooms had it available again I decided to get myself a measure and do a full tasting note on it this time. For some reason I can never seem to get an in focus shot of a whisky bottle while I am out an about, and never notice until I get back. Ah well.

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