The popularity of Japanese whisky has caused demand to outpace supply, and the famed Suntory distillery discontinued both the Hibiki 12- and 17-expressions. To compensate, Beam Suntory introduced Hibiki Harmony, a blend of 10 different malt and grain whiskies selected by master blender Shingo Tori. There’s no age statement, and the mash bill is also undisclosed.
The blend ages in five different kinds of oak barrels, including American oak, former sherry barrels, and the very rare native Japanese mizunara species. Mizunara oak trees don’t grow straight, and they must be about 200 years old before master coopers can cut and form their wood into barrels. Because of mizunara’s rarity and the demand for barrels made of this species, single barrels can go for as much as $6,000.
Mizunara is a porous wood with a high water content, and as a result, mizunara barrels can leak. Trees from colder areas of Japan work better, according to Hirotsugu Hayasaka, former head cooper for Nikka.
A review of Hibiki Harmony Whisky starts with a description of its appearance: an amber glow with exceptional clarity. Floral notes with oaky undertones and a whiff of honey dominate the nose.
Sippers say that Hibiki Harmony has a creamy, even oily, mouthfeel with a bright, fruity burst of flavor. A bit of the sherry barrels and the honey aroma on the nose come through in the flavor. This blend offers a very smooth and warm yet burn-free finish, with notes of chocolate and an ample sense of orange zest.
It’s worth pointing out the elegance of the Hibiki bottle. Its 24 facets represent the 24 seasons of the traditional Japanese calendar as well as the 24 hours of the day, encouraging those who gaze upon it to contemplate the whisky aging in a barrel and ponder history and the nature of time itself.
Suntory says its corporate philosophy is to create harmony with people and nature. The label for the Harmony bottle is made from Echizen washi paper, known for its quality, and graced by Japanese calligraphy showing the character hibiki, which means “harmony.”
Reviews of Hibiki Harmony Whisky attest that this blend lives up to its name, creating an elegant drinking experience from nose to finish.
Buy rare whiskey online here at VS Liquor. We carry Hibiki Harmony Whisky and many other quality spirits to grace your liquor cabinet.