First up in the Whisky Ladies “Diwali Drams” evening was the once elusive Hakushu… part of Suntory’s trio of distilleries:
- Hakushū in the Yamanashi Prefecture Chūbu region,
- Yamazaki in the Osaka Prefecture, Kansai region, and
- Chita grain distillery in the Chita Peninsula, Aichi Prefecture.
Of the Suntory stable of whiskies, the Hakushu 18 year was an early favourite of mine… however as the price tag rose and availability plummeted, my attentions wandered in other directions. Since then Hakushu launched this NAS and one can sometimes also find the Hakushu 12 year – including at another Diwali party in Mumbai!
But on to the Whisky Ladies experience…
Hakushu NAS 40% – Distiller’s Reserve
- Nose – Apples, pears, peach schnapps, honey, very refreshing with a ‘happy whisky’ character, settled into a delicious apple sauce, then basil, then shifted to caramel apple
- Palate – Light peat, fennel and aniseed, again that cooked apple with a dash of cinnamon, toasted pine nuts, light tingle of citrus orange peel. Interestingly, all the fresh green fruits dancing on the nose initially could not be discerned on the palate… as it opened up further, the green apple just kept returning, with a hint of green tea
- Finish – Light yet long finish, with a peak of pepper becoming sweetly spicy at the end
To be honest, there was a mix of responses… Some found it eminently drinkable but a bit “flat”… Some enjoyed the apple and light peat whereas for others… Let’s just say that they remained a bit indifferent.
However, even those who were initially not terribly impressed, found that as they kept sipping, it somehow subtly wooed one over, one sip at a time.
Overall we concluded it has a nice interplay between hint of peat, lovely freshness on the nose and very light on the palate. Nothing to challenge you, but nothing to distress you either. Quite the opposite, it is quite a decent dram if you set aside any expectations in line with its exquisite age-statement avatars of old.
Those who are curious to compare tasting experiences, another Mumbai tasting group sampled the Hakushu NAS 43% in January 2017 as the start of an “East to West” themed evening.
This whisky was purchased from Frankfurt airport for around £45, tasted from a closed bottle in October 2017, Mumbai.
Whiskies sampled in our Diwali Drams evening included:
- Hakushu NAS 43%
- Bhutan’s K5 40% vs Misty Peak 40%
- Nikka From the Barrel 51.4% vs Nikka Super Whisky Revival 43%
PS – By the end of the evening a Yamazaki also entered the fray… so in truth, we had three sets of “competitions” going… with a tremendous range of preferences – as it should be!
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