Hibiki 12 year old blended Japanese whisky 70cl 43% ABV
“For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”
This expertly blended whisky comes from Suntory. A mixture of the delicious Yamazaki, Hakushu with the grain element from Chita. The whole Hibiki range, comprising of 12/17/21/30 year old expressions, comes in a rather smart 24 sided bottle. The multi-faceted vessel representing the 24 Japanese seasons or ‘Sekki’. As you get into the older bottlings the glass stopper becomes more detailed and you get a more ornate ‘Washi’ hand made paper label. I know what’s in the bottle is what counts, but Suntory makes Hibiki a special occasion with it’s classy presentation and almost decanter like bottle. It comes at a good 43% ABV and has a bright golden amber hue. So, what’s it like then?
Nose: nutty, slight spice. Red berries with a Sherry like note. Woody vanilla. Sweet shop smell. With water the sharp spiciness is reduced. You get plums, nectarines and soft fruits. In the back a subtle whiff of the Hakushu’s smoke.
Taste: on the palate the whisky has a medium body which is silky and smooth. Fruity citrus, orange and lemon peel. Sherry character, I presume this is due to it being aged in plum liqueur barrels. Moves onto spice with a great balanced tart sourness. In the middle wood comes in. Water reduces the citrus tang. Juicy Sherry. Well balanced and complex.
After trying the 17yr old a while back the Hibiki range entered into my top whiskies. This 12yr old offering certainly hits the mark too. An excellent blend of great quality, balance and depth. Works well with water. Has a distinct character of it’s own, true Japanese whisky. Try it blind on friends who have single malt biases.