Japan – 48%ABV – £64
I’m currently stuck at my “favorite” airport in Philadelphia. I swear, it seems every time I fly through this airport I get screwed by something. Gosh dang it. At least I can count on it though, right? Maybe I should be happy that I can rely on unreliable flights that go in and through the Philly airport.
It is, however, nice to commiserate the reliability of a delayed flight with your bar mate over a nice beer – even if it is 10:30am. Don’t you feel that your having been inconvenienced on your way home warrants a beer? I do. Hello Dogfish Head 60 Minute!!
Misery aside, one thing I do rely on is the quality of Japanese whiskies. While I can honestly say that I’ve only had 20-25 expressions of Japanese whisky, I can also attest to the fact that there was ever only one that I found to be unpalatable.
The whisky I am reviewing today falls easily within the “wow, this is a damn nice whisky” column. Hakushu Heavily peated. This is a NAS (no age statement) whisky that has been matured in ex-bourbon casks.
Special thanks goes out to Yoshi M for the sample!
Let’s give this one a go:
On the nose – Some interesting stuff going on here: plastic air mattresses, smoked sugar, lemon whoopee pies and imperial hops – a fantastic multi-layered nose.
Let’s press on and see what else we can find:
Distant ashtrays and a good deal of pepper (green peppercorns to be specific).
Baked apples and spice, honied hot water and more lemon. After a bit, the fruitiness really makes itself known as does some vanilla influence.
On the mouth – As expected, fantastic mouthfeel. Oily yet lively, bright and satisfying.
In the flavor department, we’ve got all things burned – twigs, elastic waistbands (or gym socks), band-aids and scotch tape.
Antiseptic for sure but not in the way Listerine is; this whisky is really delicious.
There’s a malty (and yet, almost rice-like) quality here to and I reminded of a bit of a Hitachino Nest beer I had last year…
I chugged and finished it 18 minutes before Pesach (Passover) started; just to stay kosher 🙂
Finish – Decent length with a touch of the baked apples I got on the nose and a slight pepperiness (on the sides of the tongue).
In sum – While not as elegant or fruity as the Hakushu 12yo (one of my favorite whiskies, by the way), the extra 5% ABV points and the heavy peat levels on this whisky makes for a fun ride! Complex and balanced, clean yet smoky, I could find myself pouring this whisky in many situations… even on a summer day (perhaps as a kiss-@$$ peated Mizuwari).
The Hakushu Heavily Peated was a limited release and not available in the US. Thankfully, if you do want to try Hakushu and want to pop into a US store, you can find their 12yo available in the states now.