Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Suntory Hibiki 17yo 43% abv

I believe no introduction is needed into this particular blend, that on occasion, can out price a good Japanese single malt or even a Scottish malt for that matter. Famed both domestically and abroad, this fine blend can certainly justify itself when it comes to pricing. It appears though that in the last few years Hibiki's 17 year-old has slightly climbed in price. However, you can still obtain this elegant bottled goodness cheaply in Japan if you are prepared to look around

Nose: Musk life savers, caramel fudge, faint orange zest, florally, hints of lavender, dried figs, sultanas, a dash of aniseed, oak, definitely many notes of sweetness.

Taste: Ground pepper, spice, slightly sulphuric, lavender cookies, toffee, licorice.

Finish: Once you get passed the toffee the finish can be semi-prolonged. The initial peppery kick comes and goes with waves of spice in the middle, finishing with yet again a musky life saver mouthfeel.

Balance: Certainly nothing negative about this, good mouthfeel, however, I personally enjoyed the nose on this opposed to the taste. The nose shows so much potential initially only to possibly have a shortage in taste.

Comment: Let this sit in the glass for a good while and let it open up, the aromas that seep out when doing this are rewarding. Nose around the glass and hover over it a while before diving in. No water added, however the majority of Hibiki drank in Japan is on ice, so possibly experiment.

Reviewed by Clint A


  1. I can only say if you haven't had it yet, try the Hibiki 21YO. It's one award winning whisky that in my book deserves all the hype it gets. One of the worlds great whiskys.

  2. Will do, thanks, have to add it to the list Brian. Any water added when you drank this?

  3. I have a bottle of the stuff Clint and never add water.

  4. The Hibiki 17 is up at the top of my list of favorite Japanese whiskies. It hits that sweet spot of price and quality. I don't know what it's going for in other countries (although I saw it priced at 128 EUR in Paris and nearly passed out from shock), but I buy bottles here in Malaysia (on an island that's entirely duty-free, it must be noted) for RM260, which is 60 EUR.

    To me, this is a very approachable and enjoyable dram. Just a few drops of water is all it really needs. Smooth, floral nose, with quite a bit of caramel and nuttiness. I'm not cool enough to determine which nut, so let's call it almonds. It's just a nice blend of spice and fruit, and just a touch of oaky vanilla. Good medium-length finish and hugely enjoyable all around.

    1. Chad 60 EUR is roughly 8,300 yen which makes the 17yo Hibiki rightly cheap, taking into account it is duty-free. With the recent tax increase here it currently retails for 10,800 yen (RRP). It will further increase in price (not by much) when the taxes will increase yet again within the year.