Thanks to /u/Tsefly for the sample.
It’s well known that I’m currently hunting Hibiki 30.
Wait, let me start off not sounding like a snob.
I’m currently hunting down a sample of Hibiki 30, sadly, and not having any luck with it. So much so that in the meantime, I found out about another Hibiki I have never had: Hibiki Japanese Harmony.
But why is it called “Harmony”? Did they go the route some distillers go and just use a name for the heck of it? Seeing how it doesn’t sound like fake latin, I think we’re good.
This is meant to be a well-balanced blended whisky. Whether or not it’s well-balanced is in question before trying it: It is, in fact, a blended whisky, contrary to any thoughts otherwise.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony is made up of malt whiskies from Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, then they grabbed some grain whisky from Chita distillery, which I think I’ve had in other Hibiki offerings but never by itself (add a new one to the to-do list).
To add to the interesting factors, the types of casks used include American white oak casks, Sherry casks, and Mizunara oak casks.
So let’s see if it lives up to the interest involved.
Price: $99.95 CAD, however no longer listed at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Oak/vanilla, pineapple, caramel, apple, plum, honey
Nice amount of oak and vanilla. It hasn’t developed enough for the two to be separate.
Nice amount of fruit here. Lighter nose on this one, so you have to give it time. The sherry influence is here the same way your dad was there. It gives you a little and then never comes back with the rest.
Taste: Apple juice, cassia buds, prunes, floral, fake lemon chemical
At first this has an apple cinnamon vibe, but like most bake places that sell something with cinnamon, it’s too little spice. The lemon feels fake. The floral and prune aspects are tart. They work.
The rest is not strong enough.
Finish: Apple, oak, pork, ginger, lemon rosemary, cinnamon
Finish is nice, with the pork and apple working nicely, the lemon no longer feeling fake, and the right amount of spice.
So just wait until the end and you get what you wanted the whole time.
Conclusion: This wants to be great. It’s balanced, true. But is it interesting? No. Does it hit all the notes completely? No.
But the finish is nice. It’s smooth overall. It has apple and cinnamon flavours. Is it better than other Hibiki? No. It’s a starter malt. Simple as that. You won’t find crazy stuff, but the finish is okay.
World Whisky review #202, Japan review #31, Whisky Network reviews #951