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Here’s the newest member of the Hibiki family, a NAS release called “Japanese Harmony.” Suntory whisky is constantly growing in demand, it seems. I suppose an affordable NAS release is the brand’s attempt to balance things out, as they’re trying to retain as much aged stock for their single malts as possible. There’s already been a couple of “Harmony” themed Hibikis made, but those were limited editions. This one will enjoy a full time position as the cheapest member of the core range. It was released in Japan last month (March 2015), and is currently being released across international markets. Hibiki blends are made using malt whisky from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, and grain whisky from the Chita distillery.
Nose: Honey, rosemary, oak, vanilla, sandalwood, citrus, pineapple, lychee, custard apple, mint, and pine needles. Fresh and complex.
Palate: Sweet, fruity arrival. Honey, honeydew melon, baking spices, fresh pears, lemon candy (think lollipops), rosemary, and spearmint.
Finish: Rather short, but clean and dynamic. Custard apple, vanilla, sponge cake, white chocolate, lemon candy, pears, apple, cereal, mustard, rosemary, pine, and gentle spices.
Thoughts: Pleasant is the key word here. Clean, layered, and bright. It’s got a really nice nose. True to form, the grain is seamlessly integrated. Unsurprisingly it can’t match the intensity or depth of the aged Hibikis, which are world-class blends in my ever-so-humble opinion. Also, the finish is rather quiet. But still, it’s better than most scotch blends within its price range. A solid whisky that’s not brilliant, but it’s stylish and easy, with good balance and a vivid profile. Japanese Harmony? On the poetic side… but sure, you can call it that. It's a little more, but I’ll be sticking with the 12, myself.