Posts Tagged ‘hakushu’

And A Few Words, Errr – Whiskys for The National Scotch Day

July 30, 2012 2 comments

While you are not going to see it well marked in many calendars, July 27th was the National Scotch Day. Actually, if you like Scotch, you should definitely mark it in your calendar for good going forward- unlike some other wine holidays, it always takes place on July 27th – or it seems to be so, as I was unable to trace the origin of this holiday. There is enough references in various blogs mentioning the July 27th as National Scotch Day, so let’s just go with the flow.

Having more holidays is always better, especially when you get an opportunity to celebrate such a distinguished drink as Scotch. And the better word to use is Whisky, as all the Scotch is Whisky, but not all the Whisky is Scotch (and then you got much bigger world of Whiskey- one little letter “e” makes a world of difference – but let’s keep focus on the Scotch for now).

To celebrate in style, I decided to compare two whiskys, both made in Japan by the company called Suntory. Currently, Suntory makes three different lines of whiskys – Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki, with the first two being single malts and the last one being a blend.

Yamazaki was one of my favorites for a while, but this was the first time I tried Hakushu (my brother in law brought it directly from Japan).

I started with Hakushu 12, which comes from the distillery under the same name, located in the forest in Southern Japanese Alps. On the nose, it had a touch of sweet smoke and a bit of grassiness. On the palate, Hakushu had a touch of sweetness, some vanilla notes, super soft and delicate, velvety and round in the mouth, with grass undertones and hint of butterscotch. Aftertaste was very complex, and had almost numbing qualities.

Yamazaki whisky comes from the distillery under the same name, which was the first malt distillery in Japan, opened in 1924 in the outskirts of Kyoto. This Yamazaki 12 was very clean on the nose with a bit of floral notes, more mellow than the Hakushu – but then I had the bottle open for quite a while, so this might be the factor. Very clean and smooth on the palate with more sweetness than Hakushu, caramel apple undertones and clean finish with high acidity.

Oh yes, and in case you are wondering, I usually don’t add water to my scotch – with cask-strength sometimes being an exception.

Hakushu had higher complexity of the two, and Yamazaki showed lighter (both whiskys are labeled 43% ABV). If comparison might help, Hakushu was more of a Islay Scotch, similar to Lafroaig, and Yamazaki was much closer to Highland Scotches, similar to Glenlivet or Dalmore. I would highly recommend both Hakushu and Yamazaki – if you are into whisky, they are definitely worth looking for.

That’s all, folks. You don’t have to wait another year to celebrate Scotch – it is a great every day drink, without the need for any special reason to enjoy it. Cheers!




%d bloggers like this: