Suntory Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve Japanese Single Malt: Hailing from Suntory’s Hakushu Distillery – pronounced ‘Hack-shoo’, which in fact means ‘white sand bar’ – which stands 2,300 feet above sea level – more than twice the altitude of Scotland’s highest distillery – in the shadow of the pale granite pyramid of Mount Kaikomagateke (9,744 feet), in the Japanese Alps. This particular single malt is produced with a combination of: new and refill American oak barrels, ex-Oloroso sherry Spanish oak butts and new Japanese oak casks – these combine to make a delightful fresh single malt. On the nose: you’ll get a beautiful, warm waft of eucalyptus and peppermint, followed by a short sweet note of water melon. There is a sharp twist of lemon (Yuzu) that is followed by a hint of spices and grapefruit. On the palate: the first taste is actually quite refreshing, with notes of cucumber, water melon and peppermint combined. Those notes of lemon start to emerge, along with the grapefruit notes nosed. There is a very light suggestion of peppery spices which quickly dissipate. The finish: is very, very smooth, light, sweet but refreshing, with a bit of smoke that lingers till the end.
The verdict: A light but beautiful Japanese whisky, that is better suited for the summer or even as an apéritif. Definitely a whisky that doesn’t really require any water but if you do need to add some, then only add a little. I found when left to sit for around 10 minutes the notes and flavours were more intense as this allowed the whisky to breathe but if you do decide to add a drop of water you’ll find this will sweeten the nose and palate slightly.
Suntory Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve Japanese Single Malt Whisky can be found online or in-store at The Whisky Shop for approximately £43