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Suntory Hibiki 21 Year Old

Sandalwood and Pot Pourri

5 087

@RianCReview by @RianC

14th Jul 2021


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

First off, a big thanks to @cricklewood for this sample. I was also very lucky to have been gifted a bottle of the 12 around five years ago and thought it was unusual whisky, but still very good. My memory is probably not that great but I'll be keen to see how it resembles the 12, if at all. This goes for crazy prices these days (if it's even still around?) and it's the oldest Japanese whisky I have tried to date.

Nose - floral, something oddly plummy and slightly jammy with some peat in the background. Tropical aromas with sour notes and sweet malt. A hint of wood glue also hits the nose but it's not unpleasant or out of place. Unusual, again, but most pleasant.

Taste - Parma Violet sweets up front and then becomes very floral, like pot pourri. Sandalwood and bubblegum, like the kind you get at the bottom of a screwball ice cream. Mouthfeel is on the thin side but the flavours kind of fizz and bloom on the tongue.

Finish - med. Becomes sour, dry and a little bitterness from the tannins and more glue/acetone notes appear. A sweet residue builds up after a few sips.

This is a very unfamiliar and distinctive whisky and it's very enjoyable. The enjoyment factor does drop off a tad in the finish, which is OK, but let's not forget this is a blend, after all. From memory, it shares a recognisable profile to the 12 but, plum notes apart, it seems quite unique. Not one I'd necessarily like to drink every day but I'm most grateful for being able to try this elusive and (shockingly) expensive Japanese whisky.


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