Hibiki 17 Review

Hibiki 17 Years Review

Hibiki 17 years is an interesting whisky because it doesn’t really drink like a blend. It’s the kind of whisky that you could be forgiven for confusing it with a single malt. It came in a 24 sided glass decanter like the Hibiki 12 and outside of the numerical difference and a different color of text, it looked very similar in both presentation and whisky color.

Even when it did make an appearance in America it was rare and almost always hidden behind glass doors and cases. The ones you have to push a button or flag someone down to open so you can purchase the whiskey and take it home with you. These days the Hibiki 17 would cost you 3-4x+ times that in specialty shops, secondary markets and online auctions. Oh the whisky world we live in.

Hibiki 17 Info

Region: Japan

Distiller: Suntory
Mashbill: Single malt + Grain Whisky
Cask: “Oak” (likely ex-Bourbon and some ex-sherry)
Age: 17 Years
ABV: 43%

Price: NA – Auction and Specialty (not easily found outside of Japan)

Hibiki 17 Review

EYE
Caramel

NOSE
Toffee, malt, orange peels, smokey char, oily, nutty and a bit of dark fruit. It’s a solid, complex aroma. It’s quite nice.

PALATE
Toffee, malt, smoky char, nutty, spice, wood and a touch of dark fruit. The nose is more complex than the palate, but again it’s solid, complex and rich. It’s something I could easily drink and never get bored with.

FINISH
Long fade of toffee, malt, spice, smoke and wood. It has a subtle dark fruit underpinning to it and like the rest is quite nice.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, medium body and velvety feel.

OVERALL
Hibiki 17 is a good whisky. I wish I had picked up a bottle when it was a bit easier to find and the price on it wasn’t quite so crazy. Though those days are long gone and until the tide of ravenous whisky consumers recedes we’re not likely to see this readily available at a not-insane price anytime in the near future. Damn you supply and demand… damn you.

SCORE: 90/100 (A-)

Hibiki 17 Years Review - Score Brekadown
  • Nose - 90
  • Palate - 90
  • Finish - 90
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 90

Summary

Hibiki 17 years is good and if you get the chance to try it do so!

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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8 Responses to Hibiki 17 Review

  1. I’m in complete agreement. It’s show stopping fabulous and you can still find it for $150 fairly often. K&L seems to get it every few months but it’s only a case or so and sells out in a few hours at most. Secondary is not crazy on it either.

  2. Hi Josh,

    Always good to see another review of this one – it has long been one of my favourites. It is actually one of the first bottles I ever bought (picked it up in Japan on my travels). Inexpensive at the time, I wish I had bought a couple – wasn’t able to find it anywhere when I was back there last year.

  3. It’s bloody difficult to find here in Japan, certainly at anything approaching a reasonable price – the 17 goes for around $150-170 now. Like a lot of other expressions of Japanese whiskies (Yamazaki, Hakushu et al) the most common Hibiki is now a nas expression subtitled Japanese Harmony. Not bad, but nowhere near as complex as the 17. Supply and demand be damned indeed!

  4. I still have a sealed bottle of the Hibiki 12, but the 17 was the first one I bought. It was over two years ago on the duty-free island of Langkawi, Malaysia, the home of the cheapest booze on Earth. I actually fretted at the time at the steep price — which was in retrospect of course laughably cheap: about US$67. Now you’d be doing well to find it at triple the price. A great blended whisky, and I may keep that 12 yo sealed for a while longer. 🙂

  5. Hi fellas,

    Got a Hibiki 17 with pictures of cranes and flowers on the box and a bottle. Does anybody knows if the content of the regular 17 and this one is the same? Thank you!

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