Hibiki Harmony - The Spirit of Japanese harmony – bottled

Sometimes whisky can be too good. Or rather, too popular for its own good. This was the case with the Japanese whisky Hibiki 12, a blended whisky from Suntory, which after selling out worldwide was discontinued in 2015. The rise in popularity of Japanese whiskies around the world has been phenomenal, and with age-specified whiskies such as the Hibiki 12 taking many years to replenish, Japanese whisky manufacturers such as Suntory have had to develop new blends to ensure that supply meets demand.

Enter Hibiki Harmony. A non-age specified blended whisky that has taken the place on the shelf of the Hibiki 12, and which with its similar flavor profile is without a doubt its spiritual successor, in every sense of the word. Hibiki Harmony draws upon the same malt and grain whiskies that are used elsewhere in the Hibiki range, incorporating barrels of malted whisky from their Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, and grain whiskies from the Chita distillery.

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A harmonious arrangement

“Hibiki” means harmony or resonance in Japanese, a state which the Japanese aspire to. The pursuit of harmony and balance drives their creative efforts and infuses their culture at all levels. This is especially true in the art of producing and serving food and drink, which reaches a staggering crescendo in the Japanese whisky Hibiki. The Hibiki Suntory whisky range epitomizes this ideal of Japanese harmony, with Hibiki Harmony creating a symphony of flavors and aromas from a choice orchestra of whiskies. The diverse elements that together create Hibiki Harmony resonate not only with each other but with the spirit of Japanese culture itself.

Chief blender Shinji Fukuyo has selected at least ten malts for use in Hibiki Harmony, each bringing unique elements contributed by five different types of cask. Whiskies aged in ex-Sherry casks and those built from the wood of the rare Japanese Oak tree Mizunara build upon a base of American White Oak malts. Islay-style malts then add a smoky accent, offering depth and complexity, while everything is wrapped up in a warm, soothing “dashi” or broth, the gift of various grain whiskies from the Chita distillery.

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Delicate nectar

The result, according to Suntory, is “luminous” and “delicate”, with “a transparency that unveils complexity.” The Japanese whisky Hibiki Harmony glows a bright amber with a floral and herbaceous nose incorporating notes of rose, rosemary, and sandalwood. These delicate aromas sit perfectly next to a sweet, spicy, almost festive palate of white chocolate, candied orange peel, and cinnamon, while the gentle, medium finish offers brief glimpses of Mizunara.

Hibiki Harmony was always intended to be a lighter whisky than its more seasoned brothers in the Hibiki Suntory whisky range, and as such is a great introduction for those new to Japanese whisky. Hibiki Harmony is a harmonious blend that sits equally well as a complement to food as it does neat or on the rocks. It is also the perfect whisky to mix into a Japanese-style highball, drawing out the rich, complex whisky flavors into a drink ideal for enjoying with friends.

You too can get your hands on this meticulous blend from the masters at Suntory. The online marketplace Ippin are now shipping Hibiki Suntory whisky direct from Japan - including this latest edition Hibiki Harmony - to select countries around the world. Whether you are a seasoned whisky connoisseur, or this is your entry into the world of Japanese whisky, Hibiki Harmony promises to be a fantastic spirit that simply cannot be missed.