Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting A Bit Heavy – Hakushu Heavily Peated

Hakushu Heavily Peated – Master Of Malt 50ml Sample

For my Dramcember review I actually had a couple of whiskies lined up but in the end time and heat got the best of me and I have only just finished this review by the end of Dramcember.

My choice was the Hakushu Heavily Peated Japanese whisky. I had recently purchased this through the Master of Malt, Drinks By The Dram sample selections.

Hakushu is noted to be one of the highest distilleries in Japan, located in the southern Japanese alps on the main island of Honshu. Hokushu distillery draws its water from the adjacent Kai-Komogatake mountain which attributes to the water being much softer than many other distilleries in Japan. Certainly next time I am in Japan I will be visiting this distillery as from the photos and accounts I have heard it is also one of the most beautiful distillers nestled in a luck green forest. As to where the peat comes from noted in the name I cannot say nor how I even found any references about it.

Hakushu Heavily Peated
Distillery: Hakushu / Suntory
Style: Single Malt Whisky
Region: Japan, Honshu, Southern Japanese Alps
Alcohol / ABV: 48%
Other: 50ml sample from Master Of Malt

The nose delivered immediate sweet florals all in the foreground, dry dates and apricots, medium sea essence smokiness with feints of tobacco, all leading to a very complex nose with very fine highlights. Probably the closest Scotch Malt Whisky I could attribute this too for reference would be a Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

To taste the florals are there but fade almost instantly though it has a cushioning tackiness almost oily as it moves through the pallet. Lips begin to tingle as does the tip of the tongue. Toasted woods, vanillas and liquorice are, no dried fruit as the nose led on, but the astringent starchy texture is just too much and balance is broken. Very medicinal, vegetive and aggressive to the pallet. Harsh to say the least.

A big burn in the upper chest for the finish followed by a metallic tang and a long dryness enveloping the pallet soon after. Quite unpleasant and it made me frown after every sip.

Overall I was very very surprised with the nose which just built me up for what I expected to be some exciting pallet flavours. A terrible balance on the pallet that was totally confused while the finish is quite horrifying. I suspect the oak barrels were old or not up to scratch tainting the whisky heavily. Amazingly the nose still held up after a few sips so not all was lost.

If I was to give a dram 3.5 out of 7. The balance was near non-existent once it passed the nose.

The Baron