Japan – 43%ABV – 700ml bottle – £103.40 | ¥13,700 – not available in the US and barely available anywhere other than Japan.
The Hibiki 21 year old was one of the biggest surprises for me in 2010. This is not one I had gone out of my way to seek out. Sure, I knew about it; read about and lusted after it but being that it was so hard to come by, I didn’t hold my breath on the chance that I may find a bottle.
So, if I read about it, learnt about and followed it with a drooling mouth, why-o-why was this such a surprise for me!? Well, because one day it just showed up on my door step without me even knowing about it! Seriously, when I opened the box to find a bottle of this from my friend Yoshi @ Suntory, I nearly wet myself. Yoshi – a sincere thanks for this gift!
This whisky is a mix of malt & grain whiskies from the three different Suntory distilleries as well as a mixture of different cask types (American Oak, European Oak & Japanese Oak, etc…). As with all whiskies, the age statement printed on the label represents the youngest whisky contained within the bottle. There is some much older whisky in here too!
The Hibiki 21 has won three gold metals, three years in a row and has just won the title of “World’s Best Blended Whisky” in 2010 by the WWA.
Looks like I’m in for a treat here…
On the nose — Warmed car seat leather on a summer’s day.
Slight tones of engine oil which actually compliments the pipe tobacco notes I’m getting here – bringing back memories of afternoons with my Grandpa John and his house in Fairfield (Connecticut) – he loved his pipe (he loved his Scotch too).
Again, lovely nose.
On the mouth — Like drinking happiness.
Has a bit of a bite to it, too.
Vanilla bursts through and nuts follow closely behind like trustworthy sidekicks.
Finish — Like a body builder, the finish seems to grow in strength.
In sum — This is one of the most balanced and delicious drams I’ve had this year. I will be doing a 2010 “Year In Review” post and I’d expect this one to be way high up on the “best of 2010” list. This can be both an everyday malt and a celebratory malt.
Other opinions —