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Suntory Hibiki 12 Year Old

A Japanese Surprise!

0 1089

@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

31st Oct 2013

0

  • Nose
    24
  • Taste
    24
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    20
  • Overall
    89

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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!

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10 comments

@systemdown
systemdown commented

Sounds nice! Notes you describe are quite similar to the Hibiki 17. I've not tried the 12 so I don't know how they compare, but I ended up rating the 17 at 86/100 after 4 weeks open (I have a review here on Connosr).

I would hazard a guess that the 17 is not a value-for-money proposition given how good the 12 year old fares.

Did I send you a sample of the 17? Maybe it was before we starting doing that..

5 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

Wow! That's really interesting :D No samples of the 17 year old, so I think it was before the exchanges? Let me take a look through mine and make sure that I'm not crazy though :D

If it is so similar though I think I'd have to agree with you that it's not a value for money whisky then seeing as the prices I see it being sold for are quite a bit more expensive then the 12 year old.

5 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

And after a quick Connosr search I found that you indeed did send me the 17 year old which I rated an 80/100. Wow! I'll have to reread my notes/review as I can't figure out why I would have scored it so low and yet loved the 12 year old so much.

I do believe my mind is leaving me as I'm forgetting whiskies that I've tried before now. :(

5 years ago 0

@systemdown
systemdown commented

Oh well, there you go! I didn't check if you had a review of the 17 and I couldn't find any evidence of my having sent you a sample! I have heard others say that they thought the 12 was better than the 17 so don't stress.. I also don't know how much oxidation might've occurred in that sample I sent.

All reviews should be taken with a "plus or minus 5 points" anyway, given our daily fluctuations in nose/taste perception and other factors.

5 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

Good points mate! More of my worry is that I used to be able to look at a whisky and instantly tell you whether I'd tried it or not and as time goes on I have to rely more and more on my notes which bugs me.

5 years ago 0

@systemdown
systemdown commented

I can't wait to get there ;-)

5 years ago 0

Taco commented

It's only $45 US here with tax. I almost picked one up yesterday, but went for the Laddie 10, which I love, for $50. Maybe I'll give it a shot next time!

5 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

Man I'm jealous of you guys over there :D So many awesome whiskies which are so much cheaper! Mind you wages and costs of living are quite a bit different so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much, but oh if I could just make Aussie minimum wage and pay American alcohol prices I'd be a happy man :D

5 years ago 0

Lifewaterforce commented

I am doing a "once a week, each week" a comparison between this, Nikka from the barrel and the Taketsuru 12. I will do it for the last time tomorrow night, as my buddy is visiting & since he owns the Nikka bottle (from the barrel). Thus far it is very tight, Japanese blends have really "got it", the best blend i ahve ever tasted has been a japanese blend, the Nikka 70th anniversary Master's blend, it is the highest rated of all my whisky reviews on this site come to think of it. I agree that the nose is something to behold, it has a unique "pain-au-chocolat" note, or french pastry.

5 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

What a refreshing scotch this is. I like it a lot, especially in warm weather. It's the only good scotch that I will deign to put "on ice" because it is so damned good that way. It's also terrific neat in winter time. A nice mid day scotch to enjoy with after lunch.

5 years ago 0

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