A Mature Face of Suntory: Hibiki 17

As far as bottles go, the Hibiki 17 is first-rate.  Something about this pre-fab decanter is viscerally satisfying.  Not only does it stand out, the girth and heft set it apart.  Here’s the really cool bit: the bottle shape is the same regardless of size.  The duty-free mid-size is a duty-free mid-size decanter.  Even the mini-size comes in a mini-decanter.  And if that wasn’t cool enough, it tastes good, too.

Aesthetics aside, Hibiki 17 is a blend of malt and grain from Suntory’s three distilleries:  Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita.  But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the Hibiki 17 is simply the older relative of the Hibiki 12 – flavor wise they are brothers from a different mother.

Hibki 17
43%ABV 7,980円/$95

Nate’s Impressions:

A warming rich gold pours pleasantly from the aforementioned decanter.  Waxy malts, a touch of salted, mellowing fruit, and a strong current of sugars ride a decently hot nose.  The first sip retains the solid undercurrent of noble sugars, slightly charred grains, marshmallow, and a sugary spice.  The age is respectably palpable in this whisky as it settles into a dense tail of peppery wood notes.  A satisfying, easy-to-enjoy whisky that has traded only a few of the curiously edgy aspects of its relatives for a well-knit, warming complexity.

Chris’ Impressions:

Color: Medium yellow/14k gold

Nose:  Lively alcohol vapor initially, nice oak presence, sweet – an apple tart or apple cake, cake frosting?, dusty

Palate: Deep rich oak, I can tell there is some older whisky in here, some incense and waxy notes, apples and a hint of spice

Finish: Medium-long with oak and a waxy – mizunara note

Comments: A great complex blend that balances being smooth yet interesting.  I know there is a lot of older whisky in this blend, but the price point is a little steep.


Filed under Hibiki, Whisky Impressions

2 responses to “A Mature Face of Suntory: Hibiki 17

  1. C&N :

    i had the 12 and this one, and i do have to say i prefered the 12… better price point and price ratio.

    great write-up.

    Loving your Suntory week,


    • Thanks for the comments Gal. I agree that the price is high. Japan domestic prices tend to be higher for Suntory (the 12 and 18 are significanlty more expensive in Japan versus the US)not sure what its price point for the Hibiki 17 is outside though? -chris

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