Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub.
Suntory fans are strongly encouraged to be a little thrifty over the summer as they'll be needing funds very soon for a whole variety of releases. A couple of days ago, the yearly Yamazaki cask-type releases were announced. These are not single casks but releases drawn from a single cask type, with - as always - no information about the make-up of the vatting (age of components) and/or the outturn. Just like in previous years there will be a Puncheon, a Bourbon Barrel, a Sherry Cask and a Mizunara release, all bottled at 48% abv. All except the Mizunara will be available for about 9,000 yen. The Mizunara - which always sells out quickly - will be 25,000 yen for a bottle. That's the price you pay for hype and popularity. Anyway, these will be available on September 25th here in Japan.
The Hakushu single cask I want to bring to your attention today has been available for a little over a month now as part of Isetan's selection of ochugen (the Japanese tradition of sending summer gifts to people one is indebted to) and is also available at their department stores, in Tokyo at least. It's a bottling of a 1998 hogshead (bottled 2012, 58% abv), exclusively for Isetan, and is priced at 12,600 yen. I had the chance to try it today and it really is a gorgeous Hakushu with notes of pine trees, moss, wet grass in the morning, honeydew melon, canned pineapples, a bit of kirsch in the background and with water a distinct peach note. Perfect for summer if you ask me. Anyone who got this bottle as a summer gift should prize themselves lucky to have good friends with not only deep pockets but impeccable taste as well.