Our love affair with Japanese whisky is a serious affliction. A serious, delicious affliction. And while we’ve sampled nearly every Japanese whisky that’s available stateside, this is our first brush with Hibiki 21. It comes on the heels of our Hibiki 17 review, which found the younger sibling to be an interesting and flavorful ode to fruits and florals.
Hibiki 21 was named the World’s Best Blended Whisky at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards. It was also awarded a full 96 points in Jim Murray’s 2014 Whisky Bible. So if you’re into things like awards, well, this one has lots. Anyway, let’s drink the stuff.
Hibiki 21 pours bronze-to-amber in the glass, and on the nose it boasts cooked fruits (ripe banana, apples, pears), caramel, toffee and nuts. It’s off to a good start. On the palate you’ll find lots of grippy, dry wood, plus apricots, honey and brown sugar. That gives way to a long, rich finish with roasted grains, burnt sugar and dark fruits.
This is very, very good whisky, and one of the most nuanced drams we’ve sampled in awhile. So by any means necessary, go out there and snag a bottle for yourself. Just know that, currently, there’s a shortage stateside, so it’s not particularly easy to find.
– 43% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★★