I picked this up in a convenience store in Sapporo in a 50ml miniature for under $5! Not your cheap miniature, the bottle is a gorgeous downsized replica of the classic Hibiki decanter glass.
As soon as I pour into the glass, my nose is filled with the beautiful smell. I am hit at arms length away the bouquet of aromas.
Nose: Plums, oranges, vanilla, oak, pineapple, burnt caramel, cinnamon, mustard seed, so very complex
Taste: Oak, pine, vanilla, plums, star anise, orange peel, raspberry jam
Finish: Oak, vanilla, green grapes
This is a light summer drink, so sophisticated and adorable. The use of grain whisky and its blending with the malt is top notch. Of course the core malts are from Yamazaki and Hakushu and grain from Chita distillery. There is apparently whiskies from several other Japanese distilleries, this would be interesting to uncover. My impression is that the Japanese whisky industry is protectionist and seldom trade between each other.
When I acquired this small sample, I had been in Japan for a few weeks. It was my only sighting of the 12. Lucky I have a bottle unopened at home.
This is a superb dram. I sit here gazing at my empty bottle of Hibiki 12 with a lump in my throat. My good memories of the nose and palate are blended with the knowledge that I gave the last dram to a good friend. Hope the Hibiki Harmony is almost as good. If you find a bottle of Hibiki 12 buy it.
Tesco have it at £37 Booths have it stocked year round at £38. There are some good bottles hitting the shelves this year I have seen Glenfiddich, talisker and Lagavulin distillers editions in supermarkets.