Hibiki Harmony Japanese Whisky
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Fong Chan Teng Assistant General Manager The Writing Club
Pretty much anything to be honest. Hibiki belongs to a very typical profile of easy drinking whisky that isnt hard to replace as it has a nice balance and is medium-bodied. Compass Box does come to mind. For people who say but those are blends, do note that Hibiki is a blended whisky. Many people do not know this.
Single Malts-wise I would recommend starting with something like Balvenie 12 Doublewood, being at a fraction of the price. For the price that mid-range Japanese whiskies such as Yamazaki 18 are going for you most definitely can pick up one or two very nice single cask scotch or even Irish whiskies that are truly in limited supply from independent bottlers such as Gordon and Macphail, Signatory Vintage and The Whisky Agency. These represent both great value for money as compared to the astronomical prices that Japanese whiskies are going for now. Remember when Yamazaki 18 was actually S$400?
Best Under $: Nikka Coffey Grain
Nikka is another major whisky producer in Japan. Coffey Grain is named after Aeneas Coffey, the inventor of the continuous still, and is made mostly from corn as opposed to the barley used for single malts. This gives the delicious whisky a creamy texture with a sweetness that should appeal to bourbon fans.
“This whisky is from the Nagano prefecture in Japan,” says Michael Brooks, co-owner of Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits. This blend is made from a mash bill that is mostly corn, with some malted barley and rye as well. It has aromas of vanilla with hints of baking spices, and the palate is lean with pear and quince notes. This is a great summer sipper and excellent for making cocktails because of its 45 percent alcohol level,” he says.
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Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old
ABV: 43% – Size: 70cl
This 21 year old Japanese Whisky from Hibiki contains Japanese Whisky aged for a minimum of 21 years. Comes at the perfect sipping strength of 43% this whisky was bottled in a 70cl vessel.
About the whisky
Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old User reviews
Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old: Sandalwood and Pot Pourri
Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old: Yamazaki distillery bar review 3
Nose Full caramel – cloves, green apple peel, orchards, celery. The nose is green all green!Toffee. Flowers in spring Palate Light caramel and honey, so gentle. Lavender, white pepper, the most indulgent
Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old: Great Things in Unexpected Places
A few nights ago, I went to a Japanese restaurant I had not been to before. They specialized in sushi and Kaiseki – a tasting of many things selected by the chef. I was here for their amazing Happy Hour
Tasting Notes: Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Vital Stats: Japanese blended whisky of undisclosed mash bill of 10 different malt and grain whiskies aged in 5 different types of oak for an undisclosed amount of time and bottled at 43% ABV in 750mL bottles for around $75 USD
Appearance: This whisky has great clarity, and a golden tone that just glows asking to be sipped. It deepens into rich light browns where the liquor is thicker. In 2018 Hibiki Harmony released a special bottle design, inspired by traditional kimono patterns and adorned with a tabane-noshi.
Nose: Rich wooden flooring, the kind that gives you a sense of presence in a really old building. Some soft honey aromas creep out from under the heavier blanket of oak and are carried through with a pleasant hint of varnish.
Palate: Initial is bright and lively, lifting you up and bringing you to attention, forcing you to focus and really appreciate all the flavors being presented to you. The mid palate gently carries you into a wonderfully soft finish where the heat builds slowly and pleasantly. Both the flavor and texture come to an end with a soft ebb and flow until you hardly notice it anymore.
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Brendan Asher Pillai Bar Manager The Single Cask And Whiskymate
Id replace it with another Hibiki 17!
Joking aside, I would go for Taketsuru 17 not a perfect replacement but itll do. From a Scottish POV, probably the Deanston 14 Virgin Oak or Arran 14.
Deanston 14 provides a good balance between the sweet, malty, citrusy elements and its vibrant character, while not fully echoing that of the Hibiki 17, would appeal to those who are looking for an interesting and yet unique nosing and tasting experience, especially with the use of virgin oak in the mix and the parallels with the use of mizunara in Japanese whisky-making.
The Arran 14 is similar in the sense that its a vibrant whisky which balances the sweet, malty, citrusy and ginger biscuit notes exceptionally well to create a wholesome and immensely enjoyable whisky. Its balanced nature provides a multifaceted nosing and tasting experience while being dangerously drinkable and at an affordable price too.
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Suntory Whisky Hibiki Is A Harmonious Blend Blessed With The Riches Of Japanese Nature And Craftsmanship
“Kanzen” or complete, Hibiki® Whisky is a harmonious blend of innumerous malt and grain whiskies which are meticulously blended to create a full orchestra of flavors and aromas. Seductive, blossoming and enigmatic, Hibiki® Whisky celebrates an unrivaled art of blending, fine craftsmanship and a sense of luxury from the House of Suntory.
Hibiki® was launched in 1989 to commemorate Suntorys 90th anniversary, and has ever since been embraced as the paragon of The Art of Japanese Whisky, the very product of Japanese nature and her people. Hibiki® Whisky is not only Japans most highly awarded blended whisky, but among the most prestigious and honoured whiskies in the world.
Best For Highball: Suntory Toki
“I really enjoy Suntory Toki Whisky,” says Darnell Holguin, co-founder of The Silver Sun Group and beverage partner at New York’s Las’ Lap. “Toki, which means time in Japanese, has a blend of some of the best that Suntory makes. It has notes of pink grapefruit, almonds and a light vanilla finish. Just mix some with sparkling water and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ll have yourself a yummy Highball.”
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Best Overall: Yamazaki 12 Year Old
Suntorys Yamazaki 12 Year Old could be considered the core expression of the brands single malt lineup . It is probably the best known Suntory whisky and was once pretty easy to find . This is a floral and fruity single malt reminiscent of scotch but in a style that is very much its own. All in all, it’s an excellent starting point for those wishing to explore the category of Japanese whisky.
These Essential Bottles Are Worth Seeking Out
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LIQUOR / Chloe Jeong
Best for Cocktails: Shinju Whisky at Drizly
Matured for two to four years in white oak barrels, Shinju is a Japanese whisky that is geared towards the cocktail world.
Japanese whisky has become incredibly popular over the past few years. Bottles have also become increasingly rare , as distilleries have struggled to meet the demand due to the categorys rapid growth. Brands have stepped in by offering new blends and no-age-statement whiskies, and many of these are great cocktail components. If you are looking for bottles, be sure to do your research as some brands source a blend of whiskies made in other countries, bottle it in Japan and call it Japanese whisky. But theres a reason why its so sought-afterthere are some truly incredible drams to be drunk. Here are the best bottles of Japanese whiskies available, with help from a few experts.
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The Best Japanese Whiskies You Can Still Buy
Yamazaki, Nikka and Ichiros may be hard to find, but theres still great Japanese whisky out there at affordable prices
Japanese whisky has cemented itself as one of the world’s best alongside Scotch, scooping up some of the most prestigious international awards. Unfortunately, now might not seem like the best time to get into Japanese whisky.
Big brands are discontinuing major labels and distilleries are scrambling to meet demand with expensive new bottles or hard-to-find limited releases. But if youre looking for a good drink rather than an investment, theres still plenty of great and affordable Japanese whisky out there.
Aged single malt may be in short supply, but luckily Japan makes some of the best blended whisky in the world. Plus, more beer and sake brewers are getting into distillation, so quirky and experimental drams are only becoming more common.
Here are some of our current favourites, from powerhouses like Suntory and Nikka to new releases from up-and-coming producers. Best of all, they meet the new definition for Japanese whisky and they’re all under ¥10,000.
Fuji Sanroku Signature Blend
A lot of whisky fans outside Japan dont realise that Kirin most famous for its Kirin Ichiban first-press beer is also in the business of making whisky. This premium blend is distilled at the companys Fuji Gotemba Distillery, at the southeastern foot of Mt Fuji. At a potent 50 percent ABV, its certainly a sipper, but it also makes a mean old fashioned. Bottles sell for about ¥5,000 in Japan.
Pro tip: although Kirin has discontinued Signature Blends cheaper sibling, Fuji Sanroku Tarujuku 50° , bottles are still available, typically costing less than Signature Blend but with a similar flavour, so keep your eyes peeled.
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Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky
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Excellent service and Hibiki is value for money one of the best
This is a present, so cannot add tasting notes. Ordering, communication, packaging and delivery was excellent. Lets hope the whisky is too.
Very pleased with your delivery service and packaging. Thanks. Will order again.
AA,29 October 2020
Hibiki is in my own humble opinion, at this pricep-point, one of the finest whiskeys on the planet. It is absolutely glorious. Smooth, great caramel richness, and one you have to savour because it could so easily disappear in a few sessions.
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Best Single Malt: Hakushu 12 Year Old
In Japan, single malt essentially means the same thing as in Scotlandwhisky made at one distillery from malted barley. Hakushu is produced in the Japanese Alps, and the whisky produced there is just as gorgeous. It has a woodsy and herbaceous nose that expands to include delightful fruit notes that are backboned with a light peat quality, says Crystal Chasse, beverage director of McCarren Hotel and Talk Story Rooftop. The water source for this whisky comes from the mountains deep in the forest near the distillery. This secret ingredient makes this whisky very approachable for a peated whisky. It is unique and delicious.”
Jeremie Tan Bar And Creative Manager The Wall
Springbank 18 YO, which is mellow and lightly peated, as Hibiki 17 is a blend of Yamazaki and Hakushu.
A good substitute for Japanese whisky drinkers, in my opinion, will be Old Pulteney 17, brings character and taste thats quite similar to Japanese whisky as its mellow, sweet, and has a hint of spice.
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Best Sherry Cask: Ohishi 8 Year Old
“From the Kumamoto prefecture in Japan, this rice whisky has the wow factor, says Brooks. While rice is not commonly used in American whiskey, there are several Japanese brands that use this grain in the mash bill. On the nose, you get aromas of sherry oak, roasted nuts, dried fruits, mushrooms and spice. The taste is absolutely amazing, flavors of tobacco, cocoa, dark fruits, sweet sherry wood with a refreshing texture.” He adds, “This is a great food whiskytry it with a cracked black pepper crusted steak with shiitake mushrooms and sauteed spinach in toasted sesame oil.
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Information and Whisky Prices
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Shinshu Mars Twin Alps Whisky
Distilled in the Japanese Alps on the main island of Honshu, Shinshu Twip Alps is a tasty and approachable blended whisky thats actually considered on the cheap side back in Japan. The subtle spice combined with an oaky aroma and deep fruity flavor makes it extremely easy to drink in one sitting. Be careful with this one, its not as hard as you think to go through an entire bottle in a week.
Arun Prashant & Kelvin Hoon Co
Remember not too long ago it was Japanese whiskies which were substitutes for Scotch and bear in mind the founders of the Japanese whisky industry were trained in Scotland. Fundamentally it is not difficult to find substitutes for Japanese whiskies.
However its important to note that all whiskies are different some less so than others, so its hard to find a like-for-like replacement. A single distillery may have various whisky styles and we need to vary our suggestions accordingly.
The Hibiki 17 is a blended malt not unlike Chivas or Johnnie Walker, and we actually find Hibiki to be more towards a heavy style malt. The closest we can find, albeit slightly better, would be single malts from Arran. We would also suggest an inherently fruity scotch whisky that was second-fill sherry butt matured, perhaps a Tomatin or a Glen Keith. If you choose to cast your net wide, also consider An Cnoc, Balblair, Bruichladdich, Glen Grant, Dalwhinnie, or Tomintoul of similar age and matured in refill sherry casks.
For the Yamazaki 18, look to a rich but elegant Speysider like Longmorn or Strathisla. We personally find Glendronachs to be a cheaper and better alternative. But also consider Aberfeldy, Balvenie, Benriach, Glen Grant, Glenrothes, or Glenmorangie.
As Hakushu is a light-style whisky, we would say perhaps somewhere in between a Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich. Of course, the 18YO is more influenced by the sherry cask.
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