In a nutshell: A delicate, elegant, subtly smoky and multi-layered Japanese Single Malt.
The lowdown: Hakushu 12 Year Old is a much sought after, subtly peated, single malt from Suntory's distillery secreted in the forested Japanese Southern Alps west of Tokyo. It's got aromas of pears, crushed bracken and a hint of citrus while on the palate the smokiness comes through along with some ripe, plummy fruitiness and a crisp touch of lime. Overall the feel is wonderfully smooth and velvety as it moves to a spicy, dry finish which is elegant and understated.
Suntory's Hakushu distillery was built in 1973 and is located on the slopes of Mount Kaikomagatake in the Japanese Southern Alps about 40 miles west of Tokyo. In its lush green wooded setting it's a particularly picturesque place. In 1981 a further distilling facility was built and is referred to as Hakashu East (the orginal now being known as 'West') and from here are produced a variety of whiskies using the numerous stills in operation. There is also a shop, museum and visitor centre to cater for the growing tourist interest.