Launched in March 2015, this is yet another NAS addition to Suntory's sought after "Hibiki" series. More exclusive than the standard Harmony bottling, it is the first Hibiki created for the global duty free market. A blend of more than ten malt and grain whiskies which are aged in five different types of casks from the Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries, Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo was involved in its creation, while production is overseen by the third generation master blender and great-grandson of Suntory founder, Shingo Torii. Beautifully presented in the brand's trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons.
Bright brass colour shows impeccable purity. Initial pass finds subdued, resinous, woody aromas. Remains frustratingly shy over five to six minutes. Extended air contact finally amplifies the bouquet beyond mediocre, releasing attractive fragrances of dusty cocoa, dates, oak shavings, cinnamon and pepper. Light entry. Medium bodied mid palate expands the flavour range with dried fruits, hazelnut, light cocoa and peppery warmth. Finish finds wood spice and wood shavings followed by a subtle vanilla and honey undercurrent carrying the aftertaste. Improves over time, ending up richer and more robust than most Japanese blends at its level.