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Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky
NOSE: Sweet | Soft oak | Honey | Pink Starbursts | Weak cereal notes | Gentle – I was able to take deep inhales without an alcohol burn
TASTE: Lightly oily | Mouth-coating | Light peat | Seemingly more malt than grain whiskies in the blend | Grapefruit | Yellow raisins
FINISH: Honey | Gentle and Long-Lasting
SHARE WITH: Fans of international whiskies or those that occasionally enjoy lighter bourbons. It would also be interesting at a tasting as participants could compare notes on this complex whisky.
WORTH THE PRICE: At $70 this isn’t a small hit to the wallet. That being said, if it’s for you, then it’s worth it all day long. It’s so well-rounded and complex that there’s something new to discover every time you crack it open.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If the MSRP is within your comfort zone and you can find this bottle in a store, get it. My local liquor store gets 3 bottles every 6 months and even though the owner will sometimes let me know they’re in, I still rarely get there in time to get more than 1. If the price is too high for your tastes, I would still recommend treating yourself at a bar sometime.
OVERALL: This is a severe departure from a bourbon-bomb that’s single-barrel or cask-strength. It is appropriate that the brand’s own notes include the phrase “a full orchestra of flavors.” If a high-proofed bourbon is rock-and-roll, then this is truly a classical masterpiece. Obviously, being a fan of one, doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan of the other: sometimes you’re in the mood for Led Zeppelin or the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other times can call for Beethoven or Vivaldi. Rock-and-roll music gives you the freedom to turn up the bass because there are fewer instruments at play. With classical music, you’ve got to turn down the highs and lows to really appreciate everyone’s contributions. So it is with Hibiki Japanese Harmony. While the relatively low ABV provides only a modest punch, it also allows all the notes that Suntory’s blenders combined into this work to come through and take their turn on stage. It’s a pleasure to enjoy!