Japan’s single malt whiskies rival Scottish varieties, mainly because Japan mimics the distilling and recipes of Scotland.

One notorious single malt is the Hakushu 12-Year. To fully appreciate this Hakushu, you must get to know the distillery and the unique flavors that come from this Japanese whisky.

Hakushu Comes from the Suntory Hakushu Distillery

The Hakushu Distillery is in Osaka and is home to the Hakushu 12-year. They are open for tours, and whisky fans visiting Japan will stumble their ways to the distillery. In fact, they also operate the Hakushu Distillery factory shop, known as In the Barrel, which offers a selection of products you can only purchase in-person from the distillery. This includes their single malt specials, designed glasses, and snack foods made specifically for their Hakushu whisky.

A unique feature of the distillery is the bird sanctuary, which the distillery created on their land. They allow visitors to walk amongst the grounds and see the rare birds.

What Makes Hakushu Whisky Unique?

Hakushu whisky comes from the mountain regions of Japan. The distillery is nestled into the deep woods of Mt. Kaikomagatake, and the whisky takes on the smoky, herbal notes of their environment.

Only the purest waters are used for the whisky, and they come directly from the Southern Japanese Alps. Hakushu varieties are characterized as green and fresh because they take on the freshness and virginity of their surroundings.

More importantly, the whisky is not thick like some Scottish varieties. Instead, they are livelier, earthy, and bring your senses to life.

What is the Hakushu 12-Year?

The most popular variety of whisky from the Hakushu Distillery is the 12-year. The Hakushu 12 reviews are impressive, and consumers as well as professionals enjoy this single malt whisky from Japan.

The 12-year has fresh aromas of pears, crushed brackens of citrus, and a subtle smokiness that tackles the nose. When on the palate, you’ll notice that the subtle flavors intensify and you’ll notice a taste of sweet poached pears.

Overall, the whisky is immaculate and pure. It has light, grassy notes, and a stone-like start, most likely coming from the pure waters used to create it.

The color of the 12-year is a lavish champagne gold, and the bottle is green to reflect the herbaceous nature of this unique single malt.

The Flavor Profiles of the Hakushu 12-Year

  • Nose: When you nose the 12-year, you’ll smell basil, pine, and fresh green apple. The pine needles come from the surroundings of the mountainside and give it an earthy appeal.
  • Palate: Once you take your sip and swirl it around your mouth, you will take on the notes of sweet poached pears, fresh mint, and lively kiwi. The combination makes it fresh, green, and surprising.
  • Finish: Japanese whisky all finish excellently, however, this one also offers invigorating green tea, smokiness, and a smooth, refined finish.

The Hakushu 12’s price is relatively affordable, too. You can purchase it online from a variety of retailers throughout the world, and it averages anywhere from $80 to $200 USD depending on where you buy it.

The Best Way to Enjoy a Hakushu 12-Year

While you could nose and sip the 12-year in a glass nice and neat, the manufacturer recommends the high ball. However, there is a ritual to the Hakushu 12-year high ball. First, the bartenders in Japan only use the finest ice that has been stored in caves. The stone-like flavor helps bring out the earthiness of the 12-year.

Then, it is gently stirred with soda water—just enough to enhance the flavors but not to water it down.

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