Suntory: Hibiki 12 (Japanese Blended Whisky: 12 Year: 43% ABV)

Visual: Pale Gold

Viscosity: A couple of fast streaks, but in general surprising slow and slightly thick.

Nose: Pencil shavings, sweet liqueur and plum. Fresh potpourri. Noticeably smooth. Water adds shortbread and completely nullifies the already mild alcohol. Celery.

Body: Spiced blood orange, toffee and vanilla. Malted drinks. Rum soaked raisins. Water brings out a biscuit style and sweetness whilst letting the rum like elements roam. Very smooth. Celery again. Plums lightly arise.

Finish: Lots of chocolate and chocolate orange. Light syrup, celery. Oysters. Comparatively simple.

Conclusion: So here we go, trying a blended whisky, the first for a while on this blog. A very reputable example of blending as well.  Now normally blended whisky isn’t my cup of tea but this sounded interesting enough to give a try.

Well its high quality, you can tell that instantly, and still very distinctively a blend.  It has that slightly overproduced feel, all smooth edges and pop inoffensiveness compared to the often rough punk and indie edges to a single malt.  So its not trying to duplicate the malts, it stands upon its style very deliberately.

This does not mean it isn’t good however, for all blended is often used as an insult, it’s just a different beast. It is very smooth, spicy but with a chocolate finish. As suggested before it is all rounded edges and smooth curves managed in a very sensual way.

The oddest element is the repeating feel of celery within it (possible bamboo could be a call to, but I do not have enough experience in that to say). Very unusual, but not disconcerting.

It’s balanced, with subtle fruit, and lends nice mix of textures and tastes. Overall a well made whisky that only suffers due to my preference for rougher edges.

Background: Presented in a wonderful bottle, with 24 facets symbolising the hours of the day and old Japanese calendar (or so it says) and a nice little booklet explaining its background it does a lot to establish good first impressions.  Apparently the oldest whisky in this is 30 years old and the whisky is partially aged in umeshuu  (plum wine) casks.  Well regarded in general, and I’ve been meaning to get hold of a bottle for a while. As mentioned I tend to prefer single malts over blended whisky.