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Suntory Hakushu Distillery2022.05.10
Distillery in a Forest Surrounded by Beautiful Mountains
Hakushu Distillery, which land is surrounded by the vast forest at the foot of South Alps, has coexisted with nature and has produced variety of distinctive whisky of Hakushu. Because of its rich forest, it is called the "Forest Distillery."
Searching for a new single malt whisky…
Known as the "Forest Distillery," Hakushu Distillery is located at a site known for the pristine waters of the Ojira River, which has been designated by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment as one of the highest-quality water sources in the country. The construction of the distillery, which is surrounded by expansive forest, was the culmination of a many-year search for a site that could best take advantage of Japan’s natural bounty in the process of making Japanese whisky. A willingness to experiment through a process of trial and error has led to the production of a remarkable variety of single malt whiskies at the facility, bringing to fruition the goal of creating a world-class whisky that would please the delicate Japanese palate. Hakushu Distillery, which produces Hakushu single malt whisky and an array of other world-renowned, high-quality whiskies, continues to pursue new whisky flavours and aromas in a beautiful natural setting.
Making pure single malt whiskies with a variety of characters
The characteristics of Hakushu Distillery is the creation of a variety of pure single malt whiskies unique to the land of Hakushu. On the process of fermentation, they put emphasis on wooden wash backs which keep the best moisture, and takes advantage of yeast and distillery’s naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria and other microorganism populations to create the unique flavor of Hakushu Distillery. The wash produced during the fermentation process is distilled twice in rows of pot stills of different shapes and sizes. By using different stills, the distillery is able to produce a variety of whiskies with flavor.
The exceptional skill of the company’s blenders.
The arrays of single malt whiskies which have mellowed themselves at their best are then selected by the blenders to suit their needs. The blender is a sort of a conductor of an orchestra who creates the harmony of flavor and aroma that is essential in whisky-making. He typically tastes anywhere from 200 to 400 component whiskies in a single day, selecting and combining them to bring out the characteristics of individual products and satisfy quality requirements, creating a final whisky in the process. Whisky production which takes long period of time is thought to be “the joint work of blenders in the past and future.” In 2006, Hakushu 18 Years Old received a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC), an influential international competition. Since then, Hakushu Distillery has produced Hakushu single malt whisky and an array of other prize winning, high-quality whiskies.
Suntory Whisky Museum
This is one of the few museums in the world to specialize in whisky and take a multifaceted look at the subject through exhibits that explore the history of whisky-making at Suntory, the mysteries of whisky, and the relationships between whisky and local climate and history. On the first floor, they show their history of whisky production through the newspaper advertisement and posters of their beginning years. On the second and the third floor, they exhibit items to show the mystery of distillation and the culture of whisky worldwide. And from the observation platform on the top floor, you can see the marvelous view of Yatsugatake and South Alps, and if you look down, you will find vast forest of Hakushu Distillery.
Restaurant “White Terrace”
At a restaurant, called "white terrace," which is surrounded by the beauty of the Japanese four seasons in the forest, you can enjoy excellent cuisine made with fresh local ingredients such as Koshu salmon and Fujizakura pork with well-matched whisky. Terrace seats that enable you to enjoy your meal surrounded by the pure nature are available during the limited time of the season.
Drawing on a remarkable natural setting that serves as a stop on the migratory routes of various species of wildfowl provide an opportunity to enjoy leisurely walks through the surrounding woods all through the year.
A guided tour through the distillery. In the beginning, they introduce the craftsmen's dedication to produce a variety of distinctive whiskies at Hakushu Distillery, then later you can taste the unblended whisky (not for sale) that makes up Hakushu single malt whisky. This tour truly allows you to fully enjoy the whisky.
A paid tour, reservation required
Language: Japanese tours only (audio guides for English, French and Chinese available)
Suntory Hakushu Distillery
Address：2913-1, Torihara, Hakushu Town, Hokuto City, YamanashiGoogle Map
Access：Taxi (10 min from Kobuchizawa Station), free shuttle bus (15 min from Kobuchizawa Station, from March to December: only during weekends and holidays), local bus (40 min from Nirasaki Station and 10 min walk from "Matsubara-Kami" bus stop)
Parking lot：Available for free／Language：Japanese (English and other languages by an audio guide.）／Lavatory available／Average budget：Entrance fee: free, tour: from JPY 1,000／Open：9:30-16:30 (enter by 16:00)／Closed：New Year's holiday, the closing day of the factory and special holidays／Notices：Reservations by the day before is needed not only for the tour but also for visits to the museum, restaurant and other facilities. Entrance only by under-aged persons are prohibited.