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Thursday, November 3, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Hatozaki Finest Blended Whisky

Not every TIRD is a gem, but today's TIRD is of some interest. From the Kaikyō (not to be confused with the Kaiyō brand) Distillery, this blend is nearly colorless, looking almost like vodka in the glass. I appreciate companies that show little interest in e150a.

The distillery was built at the Akashi Sake Brewery and seems to be owned by a Swedish company that also has its hooks in the Torabhaig and The Borders distilleries as well as the Mossburn bottlers.

As for the blend, the official site says the batches have a minimum 40% malt content, and contain whiskies up to 12 years of age. Since the distillery went online five years ago, we're all left to guess where the actual liquid comes from. I did notice one thing of interest: My bottle's label says "Finest Japanese Whisky", while the official site's bottle label says "Finest Blended Whisky". One can only wonder the size of the carbon footprint on this one...

Brand: Hatozaki
Ownership: Mossburn Distillers
Distilleries: ???
Country: ?????
Type: blend
Age: minimum three years old
Alcohol by Volume: 40%


Yep, the casks are scarce in the nose. Barley, yeast, sugar and VOCs arrive first. Then fresh lemons and wheatgrass. It gets very yeasty with time.

It has a light watery texture, but is bereft of common cheap blend ugliness on the palate. It's moderately salty and grainy, with a small dose of confectioner's sugar. But its gin-like juniper note gives the whisky its own character.

It finishes grainy but not grim. It's slightly peppery with a dash of graphite.

It completely vanishes into a highball, which isn't the worst thing. One may need to be more conservative with the soda water and bitters than I was. But this stuff vanished quickly in the late summer.


I respect the release of something so close to the grain, so far from the oak, and without aggressive coloration. It's better than any cheap NAS Scotch blend, and more pleasant than many of the age-stated ones. It's probably designed to be light as air, and thus succeeds. The finish falls short, probably due to maximum dilution and youth, keeping this stuff from getting into the B- range. But if it keeps its current price point I'd consider getting another bottle next summer to see how it competes with Suntory's Toki.

Availability - Possibly several hundred US retailers
Pricing - $35-$50 in the USA
Rating - 78