Review: Hibiki Japanese Harmony

Category: Blended Japanese whisky

Distillery: Various, but likely to include Yamazaki, Hakushu (Malt) and Chita (Grain)

Bottling: Official

ABV: 43%

Cost: £49.99 from Master of Malt

Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky

What they say:

Hibiki Japanese Harmony encapsulates the harmony that exists between Japanese nature and people.
Inspired by the riches and subtleties of Japan’s 24 seasons and mastered by Suntory’s Art of Blending, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a meticulous blend of the finest select whiskies from the House of Suntory Whisky.
It is a symphony of at least 10 malt and grain whiskies, aged in five different types of casks, from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries.

This delicate blend creates a oneness unfolding a full orchestra of flavours and aromas.
The Suntory Whisky blending team is led by third-generation Master Blender and great-grandson of the founder, Shingo Torii, and fourth Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo.

“In philosophy and making, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the new dawn of Hibiki, optimizing the same key malt and grain whiskies from the original Hibiki blend. I envisioned a luminous harmony of flavours and aromas. A pure and simultaneously complex harmony that was at the core of every Hibiki blend.”

Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo

Hibiki Japanese Harmony is heralded as the foundation of the Hibiki range, leveraging the same key malt and grain whiskies from the original Hibiki blend, Hibiki 17 Years and Hibiki 21 Years.
American White Oak malt whiskies create a solid base.
The rare Mizunara (Japanese oak) and sherry cask malt whiskies are the dressing.
The smoky malt whiskies enact as subtle accents to create depth and further complexity.
Grain whiskies from Suntory’s Chita distillery act as the “dashi,”or broth, to complete the personality of the malt whiskies and enhance their overall harmony.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony is extremely versatile.
Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, blended with water or mixed as a cocktail, the harmony of this blend remains complete.
It is a delicately balanced, smooth and subtly sweet blended whisky that enhances any dining experience.
We recommend it be enjoyed with a hand-carved iceball for the ultimate Japanese whisky experience.
Hibiki is embraced as the paragon of the Art of Japanese Whisky.
It is not only Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky,
but also among the most prestigious and honoured whiskies in the world.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the perfect introduction to the award winning Hibiki porfolio
from the House of Suntory Whisky.

Luminous. Delicate.
A transparency that unveils complexity.

TASTING NOTES:

Color: amber
Nose: rose, lychee, hint of rosemary, mature woodiness, sandalwood
Palate: honeylike sweetness, candied orange peel, white chocolate
Finish: subtle, tender long finish, with hint of Mizunara(Japanese oak)

What I say:

A new addition to the Suntory Hibiki range of blended Japanese whiskies, following the recent trend of ditching age statements, allowing the blenders unrivalled access to their whisky stocks regardless of the age of any individual component. The Hibiki range of blended whisky from Suntory was launched in 1989 with the 17 year old, followed in 1994 and 1997 with the 21 and 30 year olds respectively. Possibly in response to increased global demand due to the raised profile of Japanese whisky worldwide Suntory released a younger 12 year old blend in 2009 and now in 2015 followed this with the NAS (no age-statement) Japanese Harmony expression.

Colour:

Blush or rose gold, madeira wine (9/20) slow medium-sized tears leave long medium legs

Nose:

Fruity, floral and fragrant, ginger spice (a little pickled ginger too?), plum wine, roses, apple, pear, plum, honey, dusty or chalky milled barley flour, orange blossom, beeswax, sandalwood, oak wood with a hint of something herbal like star anise or tarragon

Taste:

Sweet, diluted honey (thinner than honey in texture but still as sweet), spiced ginger, orange marmalade, candied peel, citrus pith and zest, a touch of grapefruit (white or yellow) more acidic, some vanilla, toffee and butterscotch

Finish:

Medium, sweet honey, some citric zest and acidity persist

Overall:

A well constructed blended Japanese whisky from Suntory, quite zesty and citric on the palate but some lovely floral aromas. This has a reasonable presence and more than a wee lick of youthfull vigour perhaps – I guess this would stand up well in cocktails and long drinks (or Highballs?) presumable how it was intended to be mainly consumed.

Score: 80/100

Don’t take my word for it:

TOModera’s Whisky Reviews Hibiki Japanese Harmony

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