Can Whisky be Zen? Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the best of East and West… it is traditional Japanese craftsmanship joined with 300 years of Western whisky-making know how and technique.
Suntory… today the name virtually defines the beverage business in Japan. Founded in 1899 to import and distribute wine, they quickly branched out into their own products in 1907. In 1923, they stepped out again, this time into the nearly sacrilegious effort of distilling a single-malt Whisky in Japan. But the dogmatic traditionalist of the spirit-loving West soon forgave Suntory’s heresy for the most pragmatic of reasons … they made great Whisky and pioneered the delicate and problematic use of Mizunara Oak in the process.
In the 90 years since then, Suntory has expanded through home grown brands and the acquisition of established business around the world. Perhaps most notable of which was their acquisition to American distiller Beam, Inc. in 2014, bringing their world-wide sales to more than $10 billion per year. Not too shabby. Their various holdings produce dozens of whiskies, beers, liqueurs, and soft drinks that span the globe.
A beautiful Japanese girl approaches you, her black Kimono shining in the lamp light. She is carrying a tray with crystal stemware and a bottle of Hibiki Japanese Harmony upon it. As she arrives at your table, she gently bows, brushes a red, silk cloth across the rim of your glass, and then pours the spirit slowly… allowing the sweet perfume of the spirit time to rise. Then she presents it to you with both hands.
The sights, sounds, aroma and taste become a ceremony worthy of the craftsmanship. Each of the senses is satisfied and they are meaningful, purposeful, gentle and… in harmony with each other.
Hibiki means harmony. And that is exactly what this whisky is… a harmony of at least five premium whisky styles of various ages and aging methods. And while four of those are single malts, the fifth is a grain from the Chita peninsula in central Japan. Some lesser producers use these techniques to hide inferior spirits in the mix, Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony is doing just the opposite. This is a top-flight attempt to find a new taste, a new experience. And you cannot fool the Whisky community, who have made Hibiki one of the most honored Whiskies in the world, bar none.
SmartAss Corner: “For relaxing times, make it a Suntory time,” Bill Murray said a few times in the movie “Lost in Translation”. He was actually drinking the Suntory Hibiki. Oh and yes, Sean Connery also drank Suntory (Old) in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.
Member Reviews and Ratings of Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky
Not as smooth as I expected. But pretty good for a blended
Excellent whisky. I love the subtle sweet beginning and has a very smooth finish. This is my first Japanese whisky and I would highly recommend.
Beautiful flavors that balance well with a clean finish. Harmony does well in describing this whiskey and representing Japan.
A bit sweet, not spicy. Finishes well.
Very Whisky, light in color finishes well.
The Japanese really nailed this one. Great flavor not overpowering.
A little oily, but very good. Less peaty than Nikka or Hakushu
Hibiki is a great whiskey. I am not a tasting notes kind of guy. Either I like it or I do not.
It is a classic, rich & well-balanced Japanese blended whisky with a tender death,
This whiskey is very smooth and great tasting. I bought it along with the Nikka Coffey Grain Whiskey and both were great but the Nikka was slightly better tasting and equally as smooth for my tastes. Recommend both but if you have to choose one I recommend the Nikka.
Sweet really good
I like it! Great flavor. Very nice long finish. Overall good whiskey
I always have Hibiki in my cabinet. It's complex and balance, and has the perfect amount of smoke and vanilla. I've not found it to be fruity though, even though I often see it mentioned.
I really like the way the flavors seem to change on the palate as you sip it.
Very mellow whiskey... on the sweet side, but that's not a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoyed this sample. Heavy vanilla and caramel nose. Slightly oily mouthfeel. Great choice if you don't want to break the bank.
One of my favorite whiskeys, has a lot of flavor and smells absolutely divine. It is very smooth, and I highly recommend it.
One of the most sophisticated whiskeys I've had!..very smooth
Had a bite for a blended whiskey but was tempered by the vanilla and honey. A nice blend
Excellent taste for the price point.
Slightly sweet with a spicy finish. Nice flavor with a little burn.
Wonderfully smooth, slightly sweet, and complex. I usually go for scotches, but this whiskey is a wonderful addition to any home bar.
One of my favorites to date. Very smooth flavor. I've been tasting a lot of Nikka and Hibiki, all good whisky. I'll be buying another bottle of this one.
Burns the tongue at first taste. Nice, honey flavour once the burn dies down. Not my favourite, but tasty.
Great flavor!! Really smooth. My favorite!
Honey and apple nose. Midly spices on the backend. Better with a bit of water...opens it up
A good flavourful whisky, but doesn't come close to the Hibiki 17
Not my go to drink, but one of the most flavorful drinks I've tasted.
Great mix of smooth but still have a kick to it at the end
A friend of our said that we had to try it and if we did, we would love it, he was right! Great!
One of my favorites, it's light, smooth, and carries a great balance of spice and malt notes.
Harmony of senses, "Echo" of time, tradition, and terroir
Enjoyed this whiskey very much, very smooth, with a lot of vanilla and chocolate notes.
Not impressive for the price point.
Love this whiskey!!! Enjoyed this with my mom
Not impressed for the money
The is a very good Whiskey, sweet vanilla, chocolate notes with a smooth finish. Definitely one too keep in your bar!
Pretty smooth, but doesn't seem to live up to the price.
Flavor is great. Would definitely re-buy. Not as smooth as advertised but worth it for the finish.
Amazing. Sweet and light
It's been over 20 years since I've sipped any Suntory in the United States. This new bottle of Hibiki is best (IMHO) with a splash of water to mellow out while sipping.
Sweet and spicy
One of the most complex whiskies on the market. very nice from scent to swallow.beautiful finish with a light flavor. a must have for any serious whiskey drinker.
For my first step into Japanese Whisky...What a treat! The aroma was a pleasure and the sip fills the mouth with subtle flavors which show this to be a top notch addition to any collection. I was greatly impressed and will be adding more Japanese whiskies to my home bar.
Very Smooth. Will absolutely order again.
Smooth, silly and delicious
So good, you'll forget it's a blend. Sweet, complex, smooth. What a blend should be: a mix of whiskies to produce an intended flavor. You listening JW?
Great first Japanese whisky for a novice but it will easily be overshadowed and outshined by its 12 yo big brother.
Smooth but not a lot of taste. Doesn't linger on the palate
Could be my favorite for the price
Possibly the best whiskey I have ever tasted. Very smooth and satisfying taste. Great for after a hard day at work. I totally recommend giving this one a try.
The most balanced whiskey I've ever had.
Lovely amber, with a slightly spice tang in my mouth,
Excellent harmony. Best Japanese whiskey I have tried. Comparable to blantons.
It's difficult to put words to the exact flavours I could pull out of this whisky but I can speak to the feelings that it causes in me. 'Harmony' is probably the best word to describe the experience that is this whisky; very balanced, yet complex collection of flavours throughout the dram that stir up a feeling of "just getting home after a long day" with every sip.
Warning: reaching the end of the bottle is an especially sad moment.
Longest finish I've ever had on a non-age-statement whisky. Caramel, vanilla, dried fruits, it's initial palate is certainly light and youthful, but the finish is so deep and warming. My first venture into Japanese spirits, and definitely not to be the last.
Sweet, lychee nose, mellow finish
Very smooth whiskey!
Mmm smooth with a little initial spike
Great and. easy to drink, if anything too easy! Would recommend highly if you like a slightly sweet, caramel taste to your whisky
Good aroma, good flavor, has some bite though, little pricey for what you get.
Look like something I would become addicted to, however, fixed income prohibits me.
Ok flavor. A little harsh. Less complex than others I've tried.
Great for anyone who doesent like smoky flavors. Its soft, tastes great, i can only recommend it.
Beautifully butter and sweet on the palette when taken with a little water.