Hakushu 12 Year

World Whisky Review #20: Hakushu 12 Year

Distillery: Hakushu

Region: Mt. Kaikoma, Japan

ABV: 43%

Age: 12 Year

Price: $100.

Color: 0.5, Yellow Gold.


Nose: (according to the wife) It’s a fairly neutral dram in that it’s not sweet or bitter or anything. There is a bit of roasted barley (she thought of Korean barley tea/보리차)). There’s a bit of yuzu, a tiny bit of honey, and then some fresh cut grass.

Palate: There are notes of green apple, yuzu, and Asian pear but this guy isn’t sweet at all. It’s a little more of the savory side with a hint of campfire smoke, a bit of leather, and this lovely note of green tea that took me forever to put my finger on. With a bit of water, a hint of salt comes out and works nicely with the green tea and fruits.

Finish: The main note in here is a very distinctive one of pine wood. It’s accompanied by some fresh cut grass, a little more of a hint of smoke, and then some more green tea.

Conclusion: This is one of those whiskies I had resigned myself to never trying after it was discontinued. The whisky bars I usually frequent can’t even get their hands on it so I thought it was a bit of a long shot. While my wife and I were doing a bit of preliminary house hunting, we went across the river from Omaha into Iowa and I found this guy sitting in the liquor section of the grocery store there. The guy running that section of the store mentioned that they’d somehow won it on lottery and it was one of three that had made it into the state of Iowa for that distribution run.

Fun story on how I got it aside, this is a pretty darn good whisky. It’s not sweet but it contains some lovely fruity notes. The savory notes from the green tea throughout are really fantastic and tie this all together. The bit of smoke and leather is nice in the palate. I’m not a huge fan of the finish, the pine note is a bit odd and out there.

Would I buy another bottle? Not for $100 or more. Someone posted a picture on Discord yesterday of this being sold for $175, it is maybe worth $70-75 but not more.

Final Score: 83.

Scotch Whisky review #82, Highland Whisky Review #22, Whisky Network Review #106


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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