Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a blend of Japanese malt and grain whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. Presented in the brand’s trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons, this is light, approachable and moreish with enticing notes of orange peel and white chocolate.
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“I enjoy this whisky because it’s a very straightforward approach to what whisky is supposed to be; it’s a drink that is simple and plain and not overly complex. It’s a great bottle at a great price that I keep in my home bar because I know it’s just as good as some of the best blends in the world, but it’s got an interesting, appealing taste profile. The flavour profile sits in the middle and I can’t say whether it’s better than some in that mid-range category and I hardly know a group of blended whiskies so I’m not sure how to critique this whisky. But, it’s damn good and you can’t go wrong with it at this price point. It’s a pretty good choice for someone who is a little bit scared of trying a whisky, but still wants a gins, a good cognac and some white whiskies without burning a hole in their wallet.”
This whisky is a blend of malt and grain whiskies distilled by Suntory. The blend itself is Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita. Presently the blends are released into barrels that are well aged in oak casks for 30 months. After that time the barrels are blended together and bottled with the different layers to achieve the Hibiki blend taste and finish. It is a naturally sweet and mellow drink that is drinkable with or without ice but by itself the finish is slow and smooth. It is an award winning whisky that is reputed to be a great bar find. It is a great choice for someone who wants to start out on the good tasting but more expensive whisky roads. People who like whisky for the “smoothness” would love this whisky, and love them more as you get to know the subtle differences in each bottle.
Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita are award-winning malts that of course will produce an wonderful whisky at any price point. If your budget permits, this blend is well worth the money, though if you take a close look at the bottle you can see what Suntory did: they made the flavour profile sweet and slightly more towards the sweeter side of the spectrum. The nose is fairly light, and an orange / alcoholic note is present. The nose definitely resembles orange liqueur or orange-flavoured vodka.
The start is a very “bodily” flavour, and a subtle sweetness shows itself — this is for the almond side of things, and the alcohol notes show themselves in the finish. As you drink, more of those more-inexpensive, citrus-influenced whiskies come forward, and they do not disagree with the almond flavour at all. The citrus note is continued in the finish. Although, it is surprisingly subtle and much more bottled in (this has a smoothness, almost like a really expensive sherry). It’s good, but not great.
For people who have a taste for something with an intense, rich, and complex flavor profile, or prefer something ashy and smoky, this is a whisky you should not bother with. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a drink that is smooth and super-easy going, that will be satisfying in all the right ways, but with a substantial alcohol content, that is a gorgeous bottle to look at, and will be highly underrated because of its lack of depth, then this drink is for you. A raw, direct, honest, and semi-aromatic blend, created by Suntory using rich, mellow grains and imported Japanese whisky, this is for those who want to drink something but don’t want to look like they are drinking.
Serving it neat brings the fruit notes out more, and complements the sweetness in the whisky. The finish is still strong, harmonious, and very easy to drink, with a nice final mellowness to it. However, in the second half, the subtleties of that refined and delicious taste profile really shine. Alcoholwise, there is a point where you can feel the heat, but that is to be expected with this ABV already.
This is still a very easy drink to enjoy, and a very easy one to recommend. You get to have complex and deep whisky, with no pretensions around the corners.