Credit where it’s due – Suntory and there selection of Japanese whiskies have done more than simply exist, and have left a distinctive flavor and style (albeit a derivative one). The Hibiki is no exception, and while preferred over some others from Suntory – it’s still going to be the Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve for us.
If honest, the worst thing about this whiskey – is the actual whiskey. Which sounds stupid, but the problem is that the actual taste and smell here are not winning any awards soon (that matter). This may be meant to be the best offering from Suntory, but you should settle and just buy Toki.
What they Say: “Bottle: A meticulous blend of the finest select whiskies.
Box: Hibiki was created to be the paragon of the Suntory blend. The name Hibiki literally means ‘resonance’ in Japanese, and reflects the Suntory corporate philosophy to ‘live in harmony with people and nature.’ Hibiki celebrates Japanese nature and the subtleties found in the 24 seasons of the traditional calendar, reflected in the 24 facets of its bottle design. Hibiki is a harmonious blend of innumerous malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s distilleries, which are meticulously blended to create a full orchestra of flavors and aromas. The Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the epitome of the Hibiki blend. Subtle, noble, and harmonious, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a perfect introduction to Japanese Whisky and the award-winning House of Suntory Whisky.
Nose: rose, lychee, hint of rosemary, mature woodiness/sandal wood.
Palate: honey like sweetness, candied orange peel, white chocolate.
Finish: subtle and tender long finish, hint of Mizunara (Japanese oak).”
Taste: 3.0 – That sort of almost rye/overproof combo from the smell is here as well. There’s a bit of a sugar sweetness going on though.
Aftertaste: 6.0 – The taste continues, and the sweetness sort of mellows alongside the lingering smoke + heat that you get. Overall it’s actually quite pleasant, especially the longer you get from that initial taste.
Burn/Smooth: 6.0 – So it is not entirely burning. It also goes down fairly smooth. However that sugar is actually preventing this from being a good score here as it’s kind of – cloying (think that’s the right word).
Aroma: 6.5 – That is very much ‘there’ – no need to dig around for the smell. It has a bit of what seems like rye, but also regular bourbon, and even a bit of ‘hot overproof’ to it. It lacks however a ‘drink me right now’ smell, and has a more – what am I – sort of vibe.
Honesty: 7.0 – If we went by the bottle this is an 8.5. However the box came with and it wanks like a Japanese man in a gloryhole bathroom. Everything else though is stellar from design, logo, the bottle cut, box, etc.
W/ Rocks: 6.5 – Okay so that opens the whiskey up, let’s see what we got. Firs the tastes are much blended together, but that sweetness still prevails. It also kills that long lingering aftertaste though which is sad.
Whiskey and Coke: 7.0 – That is supremely tasty and good. You might say ‘oh no it’s meant to be like scotch, don’t ruin it with cola’, but the fact is – it does better here. It’d be nice if like other whiskies it was meant for neat or rocks, but with coke – not bad.
Value: 1.5 – Hoo boi. We mentioned the Hakushu as being near the same price, and to be honest go with that. Overall though if you see the Toki – it’s a better usage of money. At $70 this is stupid to buy.
Google Shop Average: $70
Metric Score: 36.75/70 |+| Metric Average: 5.25 |+| Reviewer Average: 5.5
Final Thoughts: Sure it’s a good whiskey. Is it $70 good though? Not a fucken chance. There are a few things done wrong here, but most of all it’s this. If the choice between you and Lagavulin exists based on price-point – you are going to lose.