Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Our first blend review: Suntory Hibiki 17yo

Well lads it is time someone blogged a blend for our club. Yes a blend! This evening we, being The Grey Bush and myself, decided to open a small bottle of Suntory Hibiki 17yo blend.

What to say? WOW this is probably the best blend I have tasted. Could we believe what we were drinking? Not really. We knew it was a blend but then it did not feel like it. Have we ever had a Japanese whiskey before? No. So where did it come from? We have a little tradition in the family when traveling overseas to make a purchase of a local liquor for each other. Unfortunately this tradition has brought back some god awful experiences, but in this case not so. Getting to the point this bottle of course came from Narita Airport in Japan, approximately 4 years ago on the way back to Aus.

The colour is probably best described as deep caramel. Very clean and very pure. On the nose, sweet and floral. We could actually relate the smell and flavor to that similar found with the Glenmorangie Lasanta. Only briefly but yes we think it is there. 'Surprising and pretty bloody good' as Stefan would say. No burn in the nose as was to be expected due, we had no idea so we expected the worst. Taste again floral and sweet. For a blend there is not the hint of alcohol in the month feel that is found in the cheaper blends. Rested for 17years we have to hope it is starting to mellow.

The flavour certainly remains in the bottom of the pallet and like many blends there is little to no taste in the throat. As a comparison we had a bottle of Chivas Regal 12yo and had classed this as our 'best in store' for a blend at this time. No really this takes Chivas and kicks it up the bum.

Recommendation would be to buy a bigger bottle next time...YES...but more so it has given us the enthusiasm to try more Japanese whisky's in future (and this was only a blend).

Well this signs us off for now but hopefully inspires you other lads to not knock back the offer of a Japanese whisky if it does come your way.

The Baron


  1. Wow - that's great. I have a huge curisotiy factor now. Do your best to save some for the next meet - although we completely understand if you can't hold back. Such is the way of the whisky enthusiast.

  2. Just a quick follow up on the Suntory Whisky. The product we were drinking was the HIBIKI 17 year which is describe to be the "the top Suntory blended whisky".

    I have seen the Yamazaki Single Malt at Dan Murphys across the road and had an eye on it for a while so now I am torn as to what to present at the next DTWC out here in Castle Hill.

    I have put my feelers out to a contact in Japan to see what other Japanese Whiskeys to consider. Personally I think it is time I went back to Tokyo and found out for myself.

  3. OK yet another update. The Secretary (El Clint-a-reno) yesterday evening shot me a link to a site dedicate to Japanese whisky. I would have to say this site is possibly the best I have seen for a comprehensive profile of any single whisky origin/location. Extremely well written, a pleasure to read, and more importantly informative on every page. Yes it is only about Japanese whisky but none the less a great read! (no booty scale though)

    To the Nonjatta crew (whom I am sure will pick us up in the stats due to the link above), WELL DONE!

  4. Baron - I've only just taken notice of the glasses in the photo's. I think they're tops - are they a recent purchase or owned by the grey bush???

  5. They are actually Brandy Balloons but they make sweet Whisky Glasses. The mother-in-law has a few and Stefan is able to wrangle them for our personal use (there is a range of other glasses we are yet to try).

    The Brandy Balloon is obviously very tapered at the top to catch the bouquet and the glass is very thin to allow the warmth of the hands to release the alcohol and aroma. When we use them they actually develop a fine mist on the interior surface which collects and runs back down the glass.

    Have to treat them with a light touch but then it is a sin to spill a single malt so no worries about breakage.

  6. Do you have a rating for the Hibiki 17yo Baron von Samurai? Rough guess-o-rama should be fine.