Limited bottling: 2,000
Nose: Japanese pear, vanilla confectionery, although labeled “Heavily Peated” the smoke is ever so subtle: caressing the nose than engulfing it. Fresh, wet hay bales, condensed milk, and a tease of citrus: perhaps mandarin zest. Adding a few drops of water enhances a citrus-lime aroma and caramel sweetness.
Taste: Subtle cinnamon spice, silky smooth, smoke, fresh, presence of oak, a dash of lime juice and barley sugar, just the right amount of sweetness.
Finish: Relatively short but in every way pleasant. Cinnamon spice being the most dominant, which lingers on the roof of your mouth and at the back of your tongue. Smoke signals appear in the background after a minute. The addition of the tinniest amount of water makes the smoke much more distinguishable: lovely.
Comment: Certainly ticks all the right boxes for me, a favourite indeed, but has Hakushu ever failed? The advertised “heavily peated” in my opinion was more subtle than suggested, but this made way for possibly just the right balance of smoke and sweetness. This expression accompanied me from the transition of 2011 to the beginning of the New Year. An expression that will certainly bring these memories back in the future, that is to say I can ever get an extra bottle of this. When acquiring this 2010 bottling I was told that it was the last available on Japanese websites. However, it appears to be currently available on Korosue’s online purchasing website. I will confirm this over the weekend. This non-chill filtered expression is matured in American white oak hogshead.
Reviewed by Clint A