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The Hakushu Distillery is owned by Suntory, which owns Yamazaki as well. This has helped increase production of the Hakushu line and we aren't complaining. It has also led to some experimentation, which we aren't complaining about either.
First, a bit about the distillery. Hakushu is known as the 'Mountain Forest Distillery' and is set at the foot of the "Japanese Alps", to take advantage of the natural granite filtered waters of Ojira river. The water is extremely important as you can see! This distillery was setup in 1973, the second one to be setup by Keizo Saji, the son of the founder of Suntory, Shinjiro Torii.
Now about the whisky... Hakushu, until about 10 years ago, was not a peated whisky. Now it's slightly smoky, and that's achieved not by using peated malt, as is traditional. Instead, they make an unpeated and highly peated whisky, both from the same distillery in Scotland using the same kind of malt (so it's still a single malt), and then blend the two. The unpeated malt is aged in hogshead barrels and sherry butts, and the peated malt in ex-bourbon casks.
The final result is a crisp, light and grassy whisky with hints of smoke. An easy drink if ever there was one!
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