[Review] Single Malt Hakushu NV (non-vintage)

The single malt whisky Hakushu was created by blenders carefully selecting from a wide variety of raw materials nurtured at the Hakushu Distillery.
It has a refreshing taste with the aroma of young leaves from the forest and refreshing fruit notes in harmony.
At the Hakushu Distillery, the traditional “wooden vat fermentation” is carried out for a little longer to promote the work of lactic acid bacteria and microorganisms, which creates complex flavor components and produces the malt liquor with that refreshing and deep flavor unique to the single malt whisky Hakushu.
The unique flavor and taste of Hakushu, with its fruity aroma and creamy richness, can only be achieved in the rich natural environment of Hakushu.

1. Manufacturer

Suntory Spirits Co.

Established 1899
Headquarters location2-3-3 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 135-8631, Japan
Owned distillery● Japan
Yamazaki Distillery, Hakushu Distillery, Chita Distillery
● Scotland
Ardmore distillery, Glengilly distillery, Auchentoshan distillery, Bowmore distillery, Laphroig distillery
● Ireland
Cooley distillery, Kilbeggan distillery
● United States
Jim Beam distillery, Maker’s Mark distillery
● Canada
Hiram Walker distillery, Alberta distillery

2. Distillery

Suntory Hakushu Distillery

Location 2913-1 Toribaru, Hakushu-cho, Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi 408-0316, Japan
Start of operation1973

The Hakushu Distillery was completed in 1973, exactly 50 years after the first whiskey was produced in Japan, in a lush forest of 820,000 square meters at the foot of Mount Kai Komagatake in the Southern Alps, blessed with abundant nature.
The brewing water is surrounded by the moist atmosphere of the forest, and the Hakushu malt is made with pure and soft natural water from the Southern Alps, polished by granite. The malt is matured over a long period of time in the changing seasons that are unique to Japan, and is the source of the clean, aromatic Hakushu flavor.
A variety of pot stills of different sizes and shapes, including two newly introduced in 2014, are used to make different types of sake. The storage room is a rack type with a high ceiling. The temperature and humidity are not controlled by human hands at all, but are left to nature.

1923 Hakushu distillery was built.
1994 Release of Hakushu 12 years
2006 Release of Hakushu 18 years
2008 Release of Hakushu 25 years

Image credit: Suntory Official Forest Distillery.
See also this article for more information on Hakushu Distillery.

3. Product name and photo

Hakushu NV (non-vintage)

4. Characteristics

A hint of smoky flavor.

The Hakushu distillery has studied the compatibility of peat with the original distillate and now mainly uses peat from Scotland.

Image Exhibit: Product Lineup Hakushu

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaDry, minty and fresh with a hint of young leaves. Citrus aroma.
TasteFresh fruit, green apple, pear.
AftertasteBittersweet oak aroma with a slight smoky aftertaste.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content43%
alcohol categorySingle malt whisky
Barrel typeAmerican oak barrels, sherry barrels, etc.
Contents700ml
Number of bottles sold
Suggested retail price4,620 yen (tax included)
Release dateMay 29, 2012

5. Awards

There is no award history at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Image Exhibit: Product Introduction Suntory
Product nameSuntory Single Malt Whisky Hakushu
Capacity700ml
Suggested retail price4,200 yen (tax included: 4,620 yen)

6-2. Resale Price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 6,000 yen to 7,000 yen. (*As of January 30, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction is 4,100 yen, the highest is 8,000 yen, and the average is 5,945 yen.

(*Statistics for the past 120 days from January 30, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Mail order sites also sell them for around 7,000 to 8,000yen. (*As of January 30, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At BAR SHINKAI, which is operated by this website, onecup, 45 ml: 1,540 yen is offered.

7. Summary

At Hakushu Distillery, fermentation is carried out in a traditional “wooden vat fermentation tank” . Although it takes more time and effort to clean and maintain the wooden vats than the stainless steel vats that are the norm today, the wooden vat fermentation process encourages the action of lactic acid bacteria and brings out a refreshing and deep flavor. By using wooden vat fermenters for many years, the lactic acid bacteria living in the vats will make the whiskey more delicious. It is truly a product made with the blessings of the forest.
The best way to drink it is with a highball. The characteristic of Hakushu is its soft and fruity taste. In particular, its fruity taste is so fresh and refreshing that it is called “Mori Koru Highball. It is like young leaves or mint.
When you sip it, you will be enveloped by a soft sweetness, followed by a deliberate flavor that spreads throughout your mouth. The finish is full of clean and crisp flavors.
Hakushu Highball is very refreshing and easy to drink, so even whiskey beginners can enjoy it. It’s also recommended for those who like their whisky without any peculiarities!
January 8, 2021, Suntory will ease restrictions on whiskey shipments for the first time in 11 years. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
The targeted products are Chita and  Ao. The sales volume of Chita is targeted at 116% of the previous year’s level, and the sales volume of  Ao is targeted at 249% of the previous year’s level.
Both Chita and Ao will be released in half bottles (350ml) on March 23 so that people can enjoy them easily at home.
Unfortunately, Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki will continue to be restricted in shipment.
On January 19, 2021, Suntory will re-sell Hakushu 12 years in limited quantities on March 30. The news release said.

This is great news. It’s a whisky I want to get my hands on at all costs.
Every week there is some kind of whisky news coming out from all over the place. This year, Suntory is showing a big movement. I wonder if Nikka Whisky has a secret plan. I can’t help but hope that they will come up with something! I can’t help but hope for the best.

Please check out the other articles about Hakushu.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whiskey and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

created by Rinker
¥1,320
(2022/09/25 13:57:54時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whiskey and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

created by Rinker
¥1,051
(2022/09/25 11:13:35時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

created by Rinker
repicbook(リピックブック)株式会社
¥1,870
(2022/09/25 13:28:40時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whiskey in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.

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