While Japanese whiskys have increasingly become more popular lately, there are still a few whiskys that still remain understated and very refined just like a Vacheron Constantin Patrimony on the wrist. The Hakushu 12 Years Japanese Whisky is distilled by the Suntory Distillery in Japan, the same distillery that gave the world the exquisite Yamazaki whisky, the Hibiki and the Suntory Whisky Toki.
But what makes The Hakushu 12 Years so distinct, is the fact that it is distilled at what is known as the 'Forest Distillery' located at a site known for the pristine waters of the Ojira River, which has been designated by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment as one of the highest-quality water sources in the country. Built in 1973 and nestled deep in Mount Kai-Komagatake —the horse shaped peak—, the result from this distillery is a Suntory single malt whisky that is gently smoky with some fruit and herbal notes that are the revelation of Japanese single malts.
Available in two forms, aged 12 and 18 years, The Hakushu is completely different to the Yamazaki for those with a trained palate when it comes to Japanese whiskys. Created following the dream for a new type of whisky by Keizo Saji —the second master blender at Suntory—, the uniqueness in taste makes The Hakushu 12 Years a praised single malt by the most curious whisky connoisseurs.
For those of you that have been to Japan, all it takes is a full sip to be transported to the serene forests of the Chūbu region of Japan near Mount Kai-Komagatake. With a golden color slightly darker than champagne, this Japanese whisky brings notes of basil, pine needles and green apple to awake your olfactory senses.
On the palate, The Hakushu 12 Years Japanese whisky is a slightly smoky single malt with notes of pear and green tea and a relatively smooth finish on the throat. To properly enjoy it and taste it in full, Suntory Distillery recommends six different forms as part of their Japanese ritual: a Highball with 1 part of whisky to 3-4 parts of club soda over ice, Neat, On the Rocks, Half Rock with a touch of water, Whisky Water with 1 part of whisky to 2-2.5 times water over ice or in the most unique form as Hot Whisky with 1 part of whisky to 2-3 parts of hot water.
For us, enjoying it neat is the perfect way to appreciate its aroma and bold flavor. The Hakushu 12 Years is as understated, refined and elegant as the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 42 mm we have here.
Sticker Price $129 USD and $27,500 USD for Vacheron Constantin. For more info on Suntory Distillery click here.