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Hakushu, the Hidden Gem of Japanese Whisky

Whisky is often associated with countries such as Scotland and Ireland, but there is a lesser-known player in the game that is slowly carving its name in the industry – Japan. Japanese whisky has been making waves in the past few years, with big names like Yamazaki and Hibiki gaining recognition on a global scale. However, when it comes to Japanese whisky, there is one distillery that stands out amongst the rest – Hakushu.

Nestled in the forests of the Southern Japanese Alps, Hakushu is a picturesque distillery that exudes tranquility and serenity. This remote location was chosen by founder Shinjiro Torii back in the 1920s, who believed that the pure air and crystal clear water of the area would create the perfect environment for making whisky. And he was right. The distillery is surrounded by a lush forest that not only adds to its scenery but also influences the flavour of the whisky.

The whisky-making process at Hakushu is a delicate and meticulous one. The distillery boasts a vast production area that includes multiple fermentation vats, washbacks, two custom-made pot stills, and a unique pair of Coffey stills. The distillery also uses a variety of casks to age their whisky, from barrels made of mizunara oak (a type of Japanese oak) to ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. This diversity in production techniques and cask selection allows Hakushu to create a wide range of expressions, each with their distinct character, while still maintaining the highest quality.

One of the most distinct characteristics of Hakushu whisky is the use of peat in the production process. Unlike Scottish whisky, which is known for its strong and smoky flavours derived from peat, Japanese whisky is generally known to be light and fruity. However, at Hakushu, they use peat sourced from the surrounding forests to create a peated whisky, giving their expressions a unique twist. This peated range is known to be one of the best in the world, even winning the title of ‘Best Peated Whisky’ at the World Whiskies Awards multiple times.

One of the signature expressions from Hakushu is their 12-year-old single malt. This whisky is a perfect representation of the distillery’s style – light, fruity, and just a hint of peat. On the nose, you’ll get a lovely whiff of green apples and pears, while on the palate, you’ll taste notes of honey, vanilla, and a subtle citrusy finish. Another excellent expression is the Distiller’s Reserve, which is a blend of both peated and unpeated whiskies aged in different casks, resulting in a well-balanced and complex whisky. This expression also received critical acclaim, winning the ‘Best Japanese Blend’ title at the World Whiskies Awards in 2016.

Despite gaining recognition worldwide, Hakushu remains relatively unknown to the general public, unlike its sister distillery Yamazaki. This is partly due to the limited availability of Hakushu whisky, as most of their expressions are only sold in Japan. However, this rarity adds to the appeal of the distillery, making it a must-visit for any whisky enthusiast.

In recent years, there has been a surge in demand for Japanese whisky, causing many distilleries, including Hakushu, to struggle to keep up with the demand. Although this has led to the discontinuation of some expressions, it has also brought attention to the Japanese whisky industry. As a result, Hakushu and other Japanese distilleries are now venturing into new markets, making their whisky more accessible to the rest of the world.

In conclusion, Hakushu may still be considered a hidden gem in the world of whisky, but it won’t be for long. Its stunning location, attention to detail in the production process, and unique expressions have solidified its position as one of the best Japanese distilleries. So if you ever get the chance to try a bottle of Hakushu whisky, don’t hesitate – it will be a whisky experience like no other.

Original price was: €2,500.00.Current price is: €1,400.00.
Original price was: €3,500.00.Current price is: €2,500.00.