I had a very nice (and very busy) Christmas with my family, but today I am a bit laid up with a sprained muscle under my rib cage (which I desperately need to heal before I fly to NYC tomorrow for a 4-day trip). What better physical therapy could there be than Japanese whisky?
Hibiki Harmony is their new (or new-ish, since I bought it almost a year ago) NAS product. It is a blend of at least ten whiskies, including malts from Yamazaki and Hakushu, and grains from Chita. Maturation is in American oak, sherry casks and mizunara. This bottle is freshly opened.
The colour is a light-to-medium gold. The fruity nose features poached pear, green apple skins and lychee. Very light honey, vanilla and toffee notes. Toasted oak. Very light chocolate undertones. Herbal. Very faint smoke, but it increases with water. Nice, light apertif style.
On the palate we have similar fruit notes, with some cloves, pineapple, barley sugar and candied orange peel. Light peat. A lot of sweetness with delicate spice. Sweeter, spicier and a little smokier with water. Delicious.
The finish is fresh with light oak, citrus and cereal notes. One of the lightest Japanese whiskies I've had, it is also complex enough to keep you very focused. Sweet, a bit spicy and a bit smoky, it combines body with a freshness you only find in Japan. Interestingly, the website recommends drinking with a hand-carved ice ball for "the ultimate Japanese whisky experience". Purists may balk, but I love how Japanese distillers promote tasting their products on ice, mixed or in cocktails while still crafting incredible whiskies to exacting standards. Bravo.