The Hakushu 12 Years Old

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hakushu12.jpg
Surrounded by forest at the foot of Mount Kaikomo in the southern "Japanese Alps,"Suntory's picturesque Hakushu distillery has been making single malt whisky since 1973. The highly awarded distillery has three core expressions the 12, 18 and 25 year old and occasionally produces limited runs of peated or sherry matured expressions. 

Suntory's single malts are a relatively uncommon sight on LCBO shelves and, as of May 2018, they've become even harder to find. Whether they're a victim of the success of the Japanese whisky category or simply the result of poor forecasting, the Hakushu 12 year old single malt and the 17 year old blend are being pulled from "certain markets" and will have limited availability in others. Moreover, Suntory's CEO Takeshi Ninami said it could take up to a decade for Beam Suntory's Japanese whisky distilleries to meet demand from consumers and retailers. 

I found this bottle on a trip to Buffalo a couple of years back at Premier Wines & Spirits; it's bottled at 43% ABV and is most likely chill-filtered and contains some colouring.
Nose: Fresh yet delicate with aromas of sliced pears, vanilla, and subtle grassy notes.

Palate: Full-bodied and smooth with flavours of candied lemon, Bosc pears and a gentle malty sweetness underpinned by a whisp of waxy smoke. 
 
Finish: Off-dry and slightly fruity with good deal of minerality and a lingering tang of smoke.

Overall: The Hakushu 12 year old is a stunning whisky. Aperitif in style but with enough heft to pair with food, the dram strikes an elegant balance of fruit, herbal tones and smoke. Fans of the "old school" Highland profile e.g. Brora, Clynelish, Dallas Dhu, Glen Elgin, etc. will love this whisky. Pity it's going to be a lot harder to find soon. But, then again, maybe this is just the excuse I need to make a trip to the distillery?

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I've found this at some Japanese restaurants in Toronto.

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