Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve single malt Japanese whisky


Recommended use: Serve neat, mixed with ice and sparkling water with a sprig of mint or slice of cucumber 

Malt Mileage Rating: (4/6) ★★★★ 

Type: Japanese single malt whisky 

Origin: Japan

ABV: 43%

Price: AU$80 / US$60 / £40

1. The whisky

The Hakushu distillery is owned by Suntory and is located near Mount Kaikomagatake within the Chūbu region of Japan. Being surrounded by lush green forests, the distillery (according to my discussions with Suntory’s brand ambassador) aims to produce whisky which offers a “green” theme; whether vegetal, herbal or leafy. The Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve is no age statement single malt Japanese whisky that is made up of both lightly and heavily peated malt whiskies.

2. Tasting notes

What an impressive bouquet – fragrant, integrated, fresh, soft and yet brims with vibrant complex character. On the nose a thick juicy blanket of vanilla is interwoven with dewy rock melon, freshly cut leaves, soft Vietnamese mint, manuka honey, fruity drying white wine, mild smoke, soft herbal notes, soft citrus, green apple, green pear and sweet green crisp and sliced peppers.  On the palate the whisky is slightly sharp, fiery and young. Green leafy and grassy notes develop with fresh mint and mild menthol, drying fruity white wine, ripe rock melon, herbal honey and mild herbal smoke, as bittersweet citrus notes gently shine. Beneath the thin veil of herbal smoke emerges gentle wood spice, which lingers into a cooling herbaceous finish of spearmint.  Overall, this is a herbal whisky with mild lingering smoke.

3. Conclusions

Captivating, aromatic, complex and young are all words which can describe the Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve; a softly spoken and well-mannered Japanese whisky that is youthfully sharp and fiery but nonetheless ridiculously interesting and drinkable. Well-rounded, balanced and somewhat easy drinking; though the nagging mild burn typical of a youngster which has not yet reached its prime detracts from what is otherwise a fine drinking malt.     

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