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A good friend of mine recently brought me a gift. Half a bottle of whisky that he had recently purchased that he thought that I should try.
You see we're whisky friends. Our friendship started when he came into my shop and purchased whisky and beer from me. Then we started hanging out in a whisky club together. Pretty quickly we were buddies with me advising him at times on what whisky he might want to purchase, whether through me or another shop.
At one point he was telling me about how much he loved this Japanese whisky, a blended whisky, called Hibiki. A blended whisky that combined single malt whiskies from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries and grain whisky from the Chita distillery. The whiskies were aged in American ex bourbon casks, European ex sherry casks and interesting enough American casks that had previously held Japanese plum liqueur.
My friend told me that this was a light whisky that he had immediately fallen in love with and had I tried it?
I honestly couldn't remember if I had, I thought I had, but wasn't 100% sure. So my buddy said that he'd bring a sample by for me to try.
At the end of the week he brought the Hibiki 12 year old sample by for me, a sample that made my mouth drop open in surprise, as it was half the bottle or thereabouts.
This was way more then I was expecting, too much in fact. Not at all my friend assured me, just enjoy it as I have.
That night when I got home my wife and I cracked the bottle open and poured it into our glencairns.
Oh my the nose! The nose is unbelievable and oh so very lovely. Very light, but surprisingly complex. Tropical fruit, pineapples, rockmelon (cantaloupe), lychees, plums, oranges, heaps of vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, caramel.
Beautiful and very light.
The nose has really surprised me and has me very excited about finally taking a sip, to see if the body matches the nose.
Cloves, pepper, lemon peel, plums, again the massive vanilla, oranges, caramel, big oak.
Wow, just wow. Absolutely delicious, and entrancing. This is a whisky that begs me to take another sip, then another drink, then another glass. Very dangerously delicious.
A long nutty, caramel and vanilly finish polishes off this whisky.
This whisky is brilliant and once and for all finishes the debate as to whether a blended whisky can be just as good as a single malt. This little Japanese whisky blows quite a few of the single malts on the market out of the water quite easily.
In fact this whisky might just have become a new staple in my cabinet, especially with the coming summer months ahead. However this whisky isn't the world's cheapest, coming in at around $120 up to $150 AUS and can be quite difficult to find in most bottle shops, however at that $120 AUS mark, it's worth the effort. If you have to pay more then that though, move on, there's better whiskies out there at that price point.
My friend, you know who you are, thank you very much for introducing me to this whisky, now I just have to hunt down the 17, 21 and 30 year old bottles!