Whisky of the Week: Suntory Hibiki 17yo
Asian whisky is becoming more and more prevalent – and it just keeps getting better. India’s Amrut has won all kinds of awards and both blended and single malts from Japan are ranking very highly. Japanese whisky is modeled after Scotch. They started commercially producing whisky in 1924 and Suntory is one of the most famous producers.
The Hibiki 17 year old is a blend and because Japanese producers do not exchange blends, each house has to make several. Suntory’s policy is to vary the selection as widely as possible so as to have a lot to choose from. And it seems to work.
This one is full of honey and sophisticated smoothness – just exactly what you would expect of a Japanese whisky. It is clear and bright in the glass with an unexpected fruitiness on the nose, giving way to a complex palate of vanilla, honey, and maybe cloves. It doesn’t come out of the box very often but it’s a joy when it does.
This is my only bottle of Japanese whisky, although I’ve sampled several others. I’ve got a couple bottles of Nikka that I also want to add to my collection, along with the Amrut.