Earlier this year, Suntory launched two NAS expressions as part of the core ranges of Hakushu and Yamazaki, both named Distiller’s Reserve. Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve joins the 12 Year Old to form the standard range of this Japanese distillery.
As a NAS expression, the Distiller’s Reserve contains different spirits: young lightly peated malts (8 years and older), heavily peated malt and whisky matured in American oak for around 18 years. All the casks have been hand-picked by Suntory’s Master Blender, Shinji Fukuyo.
Hakushu ‘Distiller’s Reserve’
(43%, OB 2014)
Nose: very fruity and aromatic with plenty of vanilla. Unripe pears and apples, melon and lemons. There’s also a grassy / minty note (slightly new-oakish) as well as something of cucumber. A subtle smokiness in the background. Pine wood.
Mouth: again a bright fruitiness, but with more oak and more herbal notes now. Lots of zesty notes, slightly bitter, especially grapefruit. Again some pine wood and gingery notes, as well as earthy overtones. A little on the young side now.
Finish: medium long, soft smoke, green fruits and wood.
One of the advantages of a NAS is the ability to bring together aromas that are normally linked to different ages. This is the first time that I think this idea actually works well, at least on the nose. On the palate you can’t stop thinking it’s young whisky trying to feel older. Nonetheless decent stuff, reasonably priced at around € 50.