A review by Tommy Byrne
Overall rating: 7,5/10 - Good and Unique
As many western whisky enthusiasts, I discovered the Suntory whisky brand a few years ago thanks to Bill Murray's sells pitch in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translations: "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time". Having first tried the Yamazaki 12 years old Single Malt, I had huge expectations from the brand who made me forget it was not actually drinking a true scotch whisky.
Swirling in my very favourite Glencairn glass, the old gold fluid already let you know you are dealing with an almost full body whisky. Starting with some dried bananas and apricots nosing notes, honeydew and pineapple soon appear after the first sip. While the toasted barley and dry fruits blends in with balance to an insinuation of toffee in the palate, I found it a little too sharp for a 17 years old whisky. However, the addition of a drop of water will definitely make up for it. Reaching the finishing line, we know we are dealing with a fine-aged product, it last remarkably in the mouth, reminding you that you are drinking a hundred dollar whisky.
I've never been a strong fan of scotch-type blended whiskies; they always seem to lack of a true essence and hide their original personality. Why blend this sweet nectar with an obscure array of distilled spirits, when the angels delightfully take their shares in the untainted form? Then again, let's be clear, the 17 years old version of Suntory Hibiki is a great product made with a thorough process by Japanese master blenders who have perfectly reproduced the style and character of a Speyside whisky to my sense. Being an unconditional devotee to Islay Malts, I think that a stronger hint of peat would really transform this whisky into what some have already branded it: "The best whisky in the world".