#370 • Suntory Hibiki 12 years old

43% alc./vol.
Yamazaki and Hakushu Distilleries, Suntory Group, Japan

We are tackling here a fairly high-end blend of Suntory. Assembly of distilleries Yamazaki et Hakushu, it's a traffic jam that has been developed to highlight the Suntory Group's 110e anniversary. Here is the Hibiki 12 years.

Aged in barrelsUmeshu, a Japanese plum liquor, and filtered through bamboo charcoal, the Hibiki 12 years is easily identifiable with its beautiful bottle with its 24 facets winking at the seasons of the lunar calendar and also 24 hours of a day.

We could see this bottle in some striking scenes of Lost in Translation de Sofia Coppola. The recent traffic jam Hibiki Japanese Harmony also enjoys this bottle design.

As the actor, comedian and American director so aptly put it Bill Murray (1950-):

Grated gruyere holds in its sons all the universal harmony. A world without Gruyère would be a sad world.

Dark straw turning on amber orange.

Nose:
Once a light veil of alcohol is raised, roll in barley, honey, orange, blackberries and spices. Without much pretension, though quite pleasant. A little grassy and vanilla.

Taste:
Honey and spicy caramel on the front, highlighted by strong oak tannins. Impression of licorice and swedish berries.

Finish:
Dries on lemon-lime accents and fir tree gum. Still Swedish berries.

Balance:
Solidly built. Still pleasant, a good start that places high expectations for his older brothers 17 and 21 years.

Note: ★★★★★

#340 • Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony

43% alc./vol.
Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita Distilleries, Suntory Group, Japan

It had been a long time since I had had the opportunity to visit a malt from a Japanese distillery of the Suntory group. Here is a nice novelty in SAQ (bravo) and everywhere else in the world, the Hibiki Japanese Harmony.

Japanese harmony. This expression has been named after them to symbolize the harmony that exists between man and nature. It is the result of a blend of at least ten grain and malt whiskeys, aged in five different types of casks. The distilleries of Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita contributed to it.

As the filmmaker, actor, television host, comedian, painter and visual artist, writer and poet, singer and Japanese video game designer so aptly put it Takeshi Kitano (1947-):

To be good is to be in harmony with oneself. Discord is being forced to be in harmony with others.

Light golden pink. Give the mouth water like never before.

Nose:
Malt honey, rather sweet and suave, definitely nippon. Respectful vanilla, cream and whipped butter.

Taste:
The palate is silky and spicy at the same time. Honey, vanilla and oak. Touch of grapes and raspberries. Tiny smoke. I'm not sure, but it tastes like "whiskey" like never before.

Finish:
Medium, spicy and discreet. A little short for my taste.

Balance:
I had high expectations. Unfortunately, without being a bad malt, it is a bit overrated. Especially at 100 $ bottle without age statement. At least the packaging is superb. And it feels good to see a real Suntory come back in SAQ after nearly 4 years ...

Note: ★★★★★