I have previously reviewed the Hakushu Bourbon Barrel and the Hakushu “Heavily Peated” (due to arrive in the US soon), and here finally is a review of the very popular Hakushu 12, which has been available in the US for a year or two (though not always easy to find)–I don’t know if it’s yet made it to Minnesota. I have plowed through a couple of bottles, and this review is from a large sample saved from my previous bottle. As with the Yamazaki 18, now that I have a replacement it is safe to plunder it.
Hakushu 12 (43%; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: Rather fruity and sweet–apples, stone-fruit and some sort of red berry too. A nice hit of vanilla and cream as well. With a little bit of time the fruit and the sweetness get somewhat stewed in nature and there’s a little bit of brown sugar and some wood spice now too. Immaculate.
Palate: Sweet on the palate too but it’s a light pepperiness that leads, and there’s just a lick of mellow smoke and minerally peat mixed in with the arriving fruit. The smoke gets a little more evident with time but it’s no smoky beast.
Finish: Medium. No new development. The wood spice from the nose makes its presence felt.
Comments: Not particularly complex but this is textbook bourbon cask whisky. Very close to Clynelish and some other northern Highland malts in profile, and tonight also closer to the Hakushu Bourbon Barrel than I remember it being. I wonder what this would be like at 48%. Well, I’m sure it would be even better.
Rating: 86 points