Review: Hitachino Highball

This one dropped about a year ago, and to be honest, it slipped through the cracks. But I came across one in my local store, so here we are. Let’s take a look at the only official release from Kiuchi Shuzo’s Nukada Distillery.

Back when this was released I mentioned that it was surprising the company didn’t go down the path of offering any bottles of whisky to the public. Presumably that will change one day, but a year and change later, we haven’t seen any. Gin, on the other hand…

But yeah, buying bottles or this RTD highball isn’t the only way to get Kiuchi Shuzo’s whisky. Anyone can drop into their Shinagawa brewpub or Akihabara distillery and try the stuff, any way you please, today. One thing is clear so far: the company definitely isn’t focusing on a specific flavor profile. Instead, they’re making a really wide variety of whiskies from a wide variety of grains and aging them in a dizzying array of casks.

Let’s dig in and see if the canned highball premium is worth it.

Review: Hitachino Highball

Nose: It’s not easy to nose any 9% abv drink but “a big pile of grain” is probably an accurate descriptor. Taking another whiff of the empty can, I’d add the word fresh, so grain that has been freshly harvested.

Palate: Don’t look for a lot of  maturation here because you won’t find it. Instead we go into grains, looking directly at malt, corn, wheat, and a bit of soba. Just at the tail end there’s a hint of sherry peaking through.

Finish: Slightly burnt popcorn

Score: C-

Price paid: 350 yen+tax, 355ml, 9% abv

If you are really into grain whisk(e)y highballs, and too lazy to make one on your own, this is probably a decent can. For the rest of us, Kiuchi Shuzo needs to up the malt content by an awful lot.

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