Japanese drink making is revered for its attention to craftsmanship and detail. With each year, more and more western consumers are becoming interested in sampling the elegance of Japan’s finest beverages. Japanese whisky is an excellent example of the western world’s craving for unique flavours.
Brands like Suntory and Nikka have been able to capitalise on this opportunity by introducing a range of whiskies to the UK, Europe and America. As a newbie to the world of Japanese whisky, I’ve begun to explore different blends and one that has stood out is Suntory’s Hibiki Japanese Harmony blend.
A kick to the system
I first discovered Hibiki on a night out in Manchester. I found myself gravitating towards the Whiskey Jar in the Northern Quarter, a whisky lover’s paradise that stocks countless blends from all over the world. Wanting to try something different from my usual gin or beer, I opted for Hibiki, and the taste was like a fireball of flavour.
Since that night, I’ve tried Hibiki Harmony several times and found that the taste was just as memorable as the first time. Translating to ‘resonance’ or ‘echo,’ Suntory’s Hibiki range has earned a reputation as a highly respected drink, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Hibiki Japanese Harmony variety is an attractive drink that shimmers with golden light. When smelling the whisky, I found it had a woody scent mixed with a hint of fruitiness. After the initial burn of the first sip, there are sweeter notes of honey and chocolate. I found this added to my overall enjoyment of the drink because I hadn’t expected the subtle mixture of sweetness and earthiness.
Hibiki whisky has a proud heritage that dates back to 1923. Without the founding of Yamazaki, the first single malt whisky distillery in Japan, Hibiki might never have been produced. Suntory’s founder, Shinjiro Torii, set out to develop a Japanese alternative to Scotch whisky that would eventually take the world by storm.
Suntory introduced the Hibiki label in 1989 as a way of expressing the harmony between the whisky distillation process and the enjoyment of the consumer. After several success blends like the 17 and 21 years, the company introduced the Japanese Harmony variation in 2015.
Drinking Hibiki has inspired me to experiment with other Japanese whiskies in the future and compare tasting notes. Purchase a bottle now and see what you think!
Are there any types of Japan-based whisky that you’d recommend trying?
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