Suntory Hibiki contains bourbon-aged malt from Hakushu, sherry casks from Yamazaki and grain whisky from the company’s Chita distillery. Intriguingly, a portion of the whiskies used have been aged in casks that used to hold Japanese plum liqueur (don’t know whether that’s for the malt or grain whiskies, though, or if it’s done after the blending).
Nose: Very fruity, with ripe oranges, apple pie, marmalade and plums. Fresh honeysuckle and nougat aromas, sugared almonds, sponge cake, icing sugar.
Palate: Smooth as a snooker ball, with delicious fresh grain, oak tannins and delicately sherried malt. Some clove, pepper and mixed peel as the sherry comes forward. The citrus is here as well, if slightly more tart like lemon or grapefruit.
Finish: Spices, apple peel and the last remnants of the finely-tuned grain. Nothing dominates, everything in place – the integration and balance are quite remarkable. The spices seem to build in intensity at the finale.