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Suntory Hibiki 12 Years Old - Featured Whisky

Author: Matt Wooler - Sunday, May 10, 2015

Featured whisky of The Hills Whisky Appreciation Course 2015

Suntory Hibiki 12 Years Old

Distiller: Suntory Whisky
Region: Japan
ABV: 43%
Wood: Mizunara + Various

Tasting Notes


Evening Dusk


A combination of rich sweet caramels, mellow char toasted oak, honey, fresh straw, butters, flowers and plum jam.


Soft and smooth that quickly releases a spicy citrus zest across the palate with a slow release of apples, raspberries and sharp sweet grains.


Long, dry and lightly spiced.


The Suntory Hibiki 12yo delivers a excellent balance between the nose and taste. Suntory pride themselves on achieving a harmonious balance of nose, texture and flavour and sights its success due to artisanal Japanese craftsmanship.  Suntory comment that some of the malted barley that goes into the Hibikies is aged in plumb brandy barrels, while including other barley and grain aged for a minimum if 12 years but anything up to 30 years. Hibiki whiskies are often served with a sizable ice ball in Japan bars though we find it excels neat.


Mizunara oak is a more traditional oak used to mature Japanese whisky. Somewhat rare, it delivers a rich vanilla profile but, the wood is soft and porous. Porous wood delivers a high level of evaporation, prone to damage, and easily leaks. Mizunara is often used as finishing oak rather than for full maturation but, there are some Japanese expressions that are matured exclusively in this wood.

If you recognise the bottle you may recall seeing it appear in the classic movie Lost In Translation. Yes it was a Hibiki in the placement but it was in fact the Hibiki 17yo.

The faceted bottle is meant to symbolise the unique 24 season Japanese lunar calendar as well as the high level of complexity in blending that goes into the Hibiki range. Early in 2014 we spoke with Mike Miyamoto, Suntory Global Brand Ambassador and he reported that there is sum 32+ whiskies that go into blending a Hibiki.

If you find you have fallen in love with the Suntory Hibiki 12 Years Old blend be sure to try the Suntory Hibiki 17 Years Old, a whisky which delivers of more mellow vanilla flavours and fresh melon flesh.

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