A couple of years back we looked at the Suntory Hibiki range. However, this year the Hibiki range welcomed a new expression: the Harmony. Though I’ve been told this may actually replace the 12yo expression, this has yet to be confirmed. The Hibiki range was created to be the paragon of the Suntory blend. The name Hibiki literally means “resonance” in Japanese. Hibiki ingeniously embraces the subtleties in the Japanese nature found in the 24 seasons of the traditional calendar. This is reflected in the 24 facets of the bottles design of which I’ve always been an admirer of. The Hibiki is a harmonious blend made up of Suntory’s malt (Yamazaki & Hakushu) and grain (Chita) distilleries that have been carefully blended to create this expression, which encapsulates everything that is good about the Hibiki blend.
On the nose: is an intensive waft of plums, lychee’s and apricots. This then closely followed by a lovely leathery note, sandalwood, honey and a hint of zest. There are some lovely notes of ground almonds, vanilla, candy and butterscotch floating around in there, which are complimented by liquorice, rosemary, some floral notes and a touch of oak. On the palate: the initial notes of honey, plum and cocoa trickle over the palate. Alongside this are notes of candyfloss, oranges, tobacco, vanilla and fennel seed. Completing the palate is a warm buttery note, a hint of lemon zest and light peppery flavour. The finish: is medium – long, subtle, salty with lingering Mizunara oak..
The verdict: I may have mentioned this before but I am a great admirer of Japanese whisky, it’s just so downright good. As far as Japanese blends go, Hibiki is one of my favourites, so when I got wind of this new expression within the Hibiki range I was intrigued. On the nose it has everything that you would expect from Hibiki and on the palate it is so well-balanced. Its character matches its namesake perfectly, it is indeed Harmony. Bottled at 43% ABV, in my opinion it doesn’t really need any water but if required then only add in small quantities until it is right for you. But if you don’t feel the need just allow it to breathe for 5 – 7 minutes.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Blended Whisky is available online or in well-stocked Whisky Shops, for approximately £52.
For more information on this Hibiki expression, visit the official Suntory website.