Japan has been in the distilling game for longer than a century so it should be of no surprise that they produce some the best malt around.
One of the country’s biggest producers is Suntory, whose history dates all the way back to 1899 when they were first established.
They are one of the biggest drinks distributors in Japan and recently bought over Beam Inc., to become Beam Suntory, making it one of the biggest drinks distributors in the world.
That’s quite impressive really. But they are not just successful in business holdings. Suntory create some of the best quality malts in the world.
They represent a number of brands including Hakushu and Yamazaki Single Malts and Hibiki Blends.
Their malts are award winning and constantly prove that Japanese Whisky is a serious rival to Scotch.
Their Hibiki 17 exemplifies everything that is good about Suntory’s craft and expresses their best qualities.
The nose opens with a bouquet of well-rounded and sweet floral and honeyed notes.
In the background there is a delicate oaky flavour, with wooded tones and vanilla spiciness. This gives the dram great depth and refinement.
The nose has a distinctively woody quality overall, with honey and resin leaking out of every pore in a heavy oak bough.
There is also a mouth watering hint of smoke I the background that melts together with a sweet nutty flavour.
The palate takes this sweetness and focuses in on it. The oak of the barrels can be tasted as a woody vanilla that is sweet and almost custard like in mouth feel.
More resin and sap seep through and are a sticky refreshment against the thick vanilla oak.
There is also a lot of candied peels, with a crystallised sugar coating to give a really nice bite.
It finishes well, with a long woody linger that will leave you with no doubt that Hibiki is one of the best blends around.