Hakushu Distillery – Towering Above The Competition
Hakushu is the highest operational distillery in Japan, towering over its competitors at a height of more than 2000 feet above sea-level. It is a Suntory distillery and, while not quite as globally famous as Yamazaki, the quality of single malt whisky produced here is nothing short of outstanding.
Hakushu is known to use one of the most pristine water supplies in the whole of Japan, drawn from reserves at the base of Mount Kai Komagatake. The water here has a very low mineral content and is much softer than that found elsewhere in the country, and this helps the distillery to create a refreshing, crisp and well-balanced range of expressions.
Many of the whiskies created here are lightly peated, giving peat lovers the perfect ‘in’ to the world of Japanese whisky. On top of receiving the recognition of critics, experts and fans around the world, the distillery’s expressions have also picked up a whole host of awards that highlight the effective processes and expertise of those behind their whisky production.
Masterfully Crafted Whisky
It’s hard to pick a winner from Hakushu’s varied range, but the 18 Year Old has to be right up there. This is a whisky that is so smooth, well-balanced and complex that it comes incredibly close to perfection. Made up from a selection of carefully matured whisky, that has been under the eagle-eye of the master distiller for at least 18 years, this refreshing dram has it all.
Elegant & Complex Flavors
Both sherry influences and bourbon influences can be detected through rich fruits, citrus, honey, apricots and sweet dark chocolate. These are all supported by that lightly peated character that also brings slight floral notes to the table. The peat opens up with more time spent in the glass and a little burst of lemon juice makes itself known too. All the while, very gentle cinnamon and cloves hide in the background, but they’re certainly detectable to a trained nose.
Award Winning Single Malt
The extensive and delightful range of notes, combined with the unparalleled smoothness, have led the Hakushu 18 Year Old to pick up multiple awards throughout the years. In 2016, it won “Best Japanese Single Malt Whisky” at the World Whiskies Awards, on top of a Double Gold in San Francisco in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Recent Hakushu 18 Awards:
- Gold Award (International Spirits Challenge, 2009, 2013 – 2014)
- Gold Award (International Spirits Challenge, 2016 – 2017)
- Double Gold Medal Award (San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2015 – 2016)
Hands On With Hakushu 18
On episode 9 of Japanese Whisky World the owner of Nihon Whisky Lounge in San Francisco, Khaled Dajani, recommended Hakushu 18 as one of his top 3 favorite whiskies.Watch the episode to see what he had to say.Watch Now