Suntory, that heavyweight of Japanese whisky, first made its mastery of white spirits known in the UK when it rolled out Roku Gin in late 2017. Now the producer is back with Haku Vodka, set to make its UK on-trade debut next month.
Haku claims Japanese white rice as its neutral grain of choice, and production starts in Kagoshima, Kyushu, a region known for its rice spirits. There, the rice is fermented with koji to make the mash, which is then distilled twice in both pot and column stills.
The process is finished in Osaka, where it’s blended and filtered through bamboo charcoal in a process ‘unique to Suntory’.
The result, according to the brand, is a liquid with a soft, delicate aroma; a rich, subtly sweet palate with a complex rice flavour; and a smooth finish with lingering sweetness. It’s recommended neat, on the rocks or in the Haku-Hi, a simple serve with chilled soda water and lemon peel.
Haku first made an entrance to the US market in October of last year. Thankfully, Suntory didn’t keep bartenders this side of the pond waiting too long – we have a feeling this is one to get your hands on.
40% abv, £35/70cl, Edrington-Beam Suntory UK