Goodbye Hibiki 12-year-old. Hello Hibiki Japanese Harmony. In an attempt to manage its whisky inventory against a skyrocketing global demand, Suntory has discontinued the excellent Hibiki 12-year-old. In its place is this new non-age statement blend, Hibiki Japanese Harmony.
Hibiki 12-year-old was my introduction to Japanese whisky, and it couldn’t have been a better foray into the category. Unfortunately, that bottle is long gone. As luck would have it, the timing couldn’t have been better. It gave me a chance to try Suntory’s new blend.
Like the discontinued blend, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is bottled at 43% abv. A 750mL bottle should run about $64.99, which is roughly what the 12-year-old expression cost.
There’s a bit of freshness in the nose, probably due to younger malt or grain whiskies in blend. It’s light and floral, and full of fresh fruit, light honey and vanilla underneath a layer of oak. There’s some slight sherried malt and saccharine sweetness on entry. Delicate floral notes, citrus and oak make up the majority of this malt. Like the 12-year-old, a hint of smoke appears on the backend. The finish is moderately long with lingering honey.
So the big question is does this new Japanese Harmony stack up to it’s predecessor? In short, it’s a worthy replacement. It successfully captures the essence of the old while moving into the future via no age statement. In a straight comparison, the 12-year-old is slightly richer and smokier. However this new blend is no slouch. Do away with your prejudices and pour a glass of Hibiki Japanese Harmony. I think you’ll like what you taste.