Hakushu 25 YO
Hakushu 25 YO, 43 %
In this review we will look closer at one of the flagship whiskies from Suntory. There are three main product lines from this Japanese company that has been producing whisky since 1923. The three are Yamazaki (unpeated single malt), Hakushu (peated single malt) and Hibiki (blended whisky).
Hakushu 25 YO is the oldest expression in the Hakushu line. They also sell a 12 YO, 18 YO and a Distiller's Reserve with no age statement.
The general availability of aged whisky from Suntory and Nikka is very scarce of late, and Nikka recently announced the discontinuation of all their single malts with an age statement. It would appear, from what is available in the market, that Suntory will follow suit pretty soon. No official word yet, though.
I see that a few online retailers have the Hakushu 25 YO in stock, but they are charging close to 1000 GBP for a bottle! That is pure insanity! If only we had known this three years ago...
Nose (23/25): Warm, soft and elegant. There is vanilla, mild oakiness and notes of caramel. The fruitiness that is here is rather subdued; plums and raisins. It is peaty, but not very - the dry wood smoke is more like a spice here. Add to this a bit of licorice and a faint trace of rubber, and you have the Hakushu 25 YO. All in all very nice, I would say.
Taste (21/25): Smooth and rich, as expected. Caramel, pepper, and unspecified dried fruits. The smoke is low key just as is was on the nose. The new element here a soft herbal side.
Finish (21/25): More sweet now, with demerara sugar and sweet ginger. It turns a bit dry and more oaky. The wood smoke has a touch of ashes. Towards the end it develops a soft acidic and perfumy edge.
Balance (22/25): A very nice and complex dram, but I was hoping for a bit more after nosing it. I have tried some higher strength single cask releases of peated Yamazaki which I have found to be even better than this one, but it is a very fine product.
Sláinte! - Thomas