And here comes the third addition to the flagship NAS Suntory whiskies completing their all star trifecta. First it was the Yamazaki and Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve and now this, Hibiki Harmony. The NAS (No Age Statement) movement is catching momentum in the Scotch industry but it has practically taken over the Japanese whisky industry. Nikka discontinued all their age statement single malt core expressions and are releasing new NAS whiskies to fill the void. While Suntory now have a new starter range for each of its three big “brands”. Interestingly enough, the Hibiki Harmony is priced just about the same as the Hibiki 12. So it’s probably somewhat inevitable for prices on the 12 to shoot up in the near future. Or perhaps the 12 will vanish like so many others. Only time will tell.
One thing I find interesting is the naming. Hibiki supposedly means “echo” or “resonance”. So this new expression could be translated to “resonance of harmony”. Very acoustic. Perhaps hinting at the cyclical nature of the whisky industry with its booms and busts. I suppose Suntory are quite pleased with the recent popularity of Japanese whiskies which has led to the creation of this NAS bottling. I can only imagine what names they will use when the whisky bubble bursts.
Type: Blended Whisky
Distilleries: Yamazaki, Hakushu, Chita (presumably)
Price: ~£50 (£49.99 at Master of Malt)
Fresh cut wet wood. New cardboard. Rich sweetness of perfume with a bit of saltiness like sweat. Really deep floral aroma half way between dried flowers and fresh flowers. A bit spicy with cinnamon.
Very rich syrup. Almost like maple syrup. Fruity and woody. Some kind of strong smelling wood like cedar. Spicy wood notes. Some floral notes carry through like rose water ice cream. Vanilla and amaretto.
Dry and spicy with cedar woodiness. A bit of caramel.
Midway through tasting this dram I got curious and poured a dram of the Hibiki 12 to compare. The first difference I notcied between the two is that the 12 is much sweeter but in a simpler kind of way. The 12 is almost like candy compared to the Harmony. I’m trying to think of which one I prefer and I think it might be the Harmony. The Harmony seems to have more complexity for me. There’s more balance between the flavours although it’s a bit light. It would be interesting to see what the Harmony would be like at 48% or higher. I have to admit I was skeptical at first but I really did enjoy the Harmony. I just hope the flavour profile stays this way (part of my paranoia that all these new NAS expressions are being boosted with some old stock to establish a following before switching over to lesser casks.). Well it’s a bit pricey for what it is but it looks like they are quite a bit more affordable in the states so maybe that market will bloom. I’ll probably try grabbin a bottle the next itme I’m back there.
Citrus, floral perfume, vanilla. Very mild and delicate.
Butterscotch ripple ice cream. Run raisin and gingerbread latte.
Very delicate and polite dram. Easy to drink goodness.
Image at the top sourced from http://whisky.suntory.com/products/jh/images/img_kv_bottle.png