Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Hakushu is the single malt Japanese whisky born in Suntory's mountain forest distillery. Made from water with a rare softness and maturing in a lush, forested microclimate, the Hakushu Distillery is blessed by the region's ever-changing seasons—each leaving their own verdant signature on its range of single malts.
Built in 1973, Hakushu is located at the base of Mount Kaikomagatake in the Yamanashi Prefecture. Hakushu Distillery – pronounced ‘Hack-shoo’, which means ‘white sand bar’. White is a sacred colour in Japan, and the name is derived from alluvial deposits cast up by the rivers which water the district, rushing down from the mountain above in crystal-clear cascades, filtering through granite rocks and filling subterranean caverns and springs. It is considered to be the best water in Japan and is bottled and sold by Suntory, the distillery’s owner. Hakushu East is the whisky-producing arm and was built in 1981 while the original building, Hakushu ‘West’, is now used for other purposes. The core range includes Distiller’s Reserve, the Hakushu 12 year old, Hakushu 18 year old, and Hakushu 25 year old. Hakushu single malt is known as to be fresh as the rainwater that gathers in the surrounding rivers.
The first Hakushu single malt to be awarded the gold award at the International Spirits Challenge was the 18 Year Old in 2006. Since then, Hakushu whiskies have won 32 medals at these awards.
Hakushu does distillery tours slightly differently. They do not offer staff-guided tours, emphasising that the viewing is best enjoyed at your own pace.
The surrounding forests of Hakushu Distillery are also a bird sanctuary. Since 1989, the Suntory Fund for Bird Conservation has granted a total just shy of £4,000,000 to environmental conservation organisations.
The Hakushu distillery was founded half a century after Yamazaki by Keizo Saji. Keizo Saji inherited his father’s quest to push the boundaries of Japanese whisky. After searching Japan, he found Hakushu. The Hakushu Distillery is one of the highest distilleries in the world, standing at 2,300 feet above sea level – more than twice the altitude of Scotland’s highest distillery. The majestic forest that surrounds the Hakushu Distillery shelters an abundance of plant varieties and was chosen to reflect the many expressions of Japanese nature. Freshwater from multiple sources offers a rare softness and purity, only made possible by filtration of rain and snow through thousand-year-old granite rocks. Throughout the year, the climate changes from a humid, misty summers into cold, fresh winters. The result is a multi-faceted expression that triumphs in conveying the diversity of Japan’s ecosystems.
Hakushu is known for flavours of...