Monday, September 24, 2007

Hakushu "Pure Malt Whisky"

It is not clear to me whether this is a single malt or vatted (ie. the product of more than one distillery). Usually, "pure" means vatted but in the case of older Suntory products this is not always the case. Before the idea of single malt started to bed down in Japan (really over the past 5 or 10 years), Suntory used to be a bit slack with the two terms and was heavily criticised for it. People accused the company of trying to avoid the inconvenience of too strict terminology by referring to their prestige products by the vague term "pure" rather than the restricting "single", even though some were in fact single malts. The clear attribution of it to the Hakushu distillery seems to imply a single malt here, but I don't know.

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin

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"Hakushu ‘Pure Malt Whisky’ (43%, OB, special limited edition, green bottle) Distilled in direct-fired stills and matured in sherry cask.
Full gold.
Starts very toasted, oily (lamp oil, motor oil), quite spirity I must say. Whiffs of wet cardboard, orange soda, ginger tonic... Also toasted bread and caramel. Something pleasantly mineral and ashy as well but not the nicest Japanese malt ever, I’d say, even if some aspects remind me of the old Clynelish 12yo (the minerality). The orangey notes are a little too much I think.
Better! Creamy, oily mouth feel, and these mineral and somewhat smoky notes are here right at the attack. Also notes of thyme, orange marmalade with cloves, bitter caramel, candy sugar, malt, hints of Guinness... Quite caramelised indeed.
Finish: Long, coating, candied and jammier, with quite some milk chocolate. Mars? Good whisky, even if these caramelly notes get a bit tiring I think. 80 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)


43 per cent (abv)

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