Hakushu Heavily Peated...

Hakushu Heavily Peated (48.0%): I don't remember exactly when I tasted this whisky last time but it has to be at least more than five years ago. I was living in Cambridge, MA that time... I remember liking it a lot and more importantly being impressed a lot but never had the chance to sit down and write down some notes. This one is bottled in 2012 in case batches make a difference.

Color: Pale straw with very distinctive and persistent legs.

Nose: Young peated whisky but in a most elegant way... Sweet malt, smoked beer and green tea. Warm sea breeze, olive brine and teak wood cuts. Dried apricots and figs, aged balsamic vinegar and cured meat. Lightly roasted coffee beans...

Palate: Sweet soot, cigar ash and dark muscovado sugar. Perfect combination of sweet and smoky notes: Very light in texture (not thin by any means but light) and creamy. Birch beer, Irish coffee and roasted malt. Heavily burnt creme caramel and smoked teriyaki jerky. (Yes, it is a thing and is utterly delicious...) Grape molasses and toasted sesame seed brittle.

Finish: Medium long with intensely dark chocolate, caramelized brown sugar and honey roasted nuts.

Overall: This is a textbook example of a perfectly balanced whisky: It is smoky, malty, savory, tart and sweet. None of the flavors are competing with the each other but complementing. It is a very clean and rounded but not simple whisky. It is light in texture but definitely not thin, easy to drink but not not-complicated. It is just done right, in every sense... I have to say this whisky is even better than I remember from years ago. I am not in a position to justify the prices people are willing to pay for a bottle on auction sites these days since it is beyond comprehensible for me but there is no denying that it is a very very good whisky. Oh, and don't let the label "Heavily Peated" mislead you. It is not even "moderately peated" in today's standards for my two cents... Many thanks to Sku again for sharing this bottle with us during his "kill bottle" night last month.

Price: $150