Hibiki 21 is a good whisky; it’s just about everything you could want in a dram from Japan. Hibiki 21 is made using single malts from Hakushu and Yamazaki and grain whisky from chita that were aged in a combination of American (ex-bourbon), European (ex-Sherry) and Japanese (Mizunara) Oak. Each component was aged for at least 21 years before being selected and blended together to create this lovely whisky whose base is supposedly Yamasaki sherry casks.
The Hibiki 21 might not be officially discontinued, but it’s so hard to find in America these days that it might as well be and reports from Japan tell a similar story. Age statements the world over have been declining and disappearing at an accelerated rate and with that decline we’re seeing the extinction of beautiful and nuanced whiskies like the HIbiki 21 and others. Hopefully with distilleries increasing stills and ramping up production it’s not so much a goodbye as a see-ya-later for things like this.
Hibiki 21 Info
Mashbill: Hakushu and Yamazaki single malt + Chita grain whisky
Cask: ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry and Mizunara
Age: 21 Years
Price: NA – Auction and Specialty
Hibiki 21 Review
Toffee, nuts, dark fruit, oily, wood, smoke and baking spices. Like a darkly sweet and oily fruit cake. It’s rich and full.
Wood, toffee, nuts, malt, sauternes, candied citrus peels, spice and a touch of smoke. It’s bold with interesting nuances that change as you sip and makes for an enticing whisky experience.
Long layers of wood, smoke, malt, nuts, fruit and spice slowly fade out.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, round full body and an oily feel. Not heavy, but slick.
Dark notes dominate but balance out; the overall Hibiki 21 experienceis something I want to keep revisiting over and over… if I could get a bottle at a reasonable price that is. These days it’s almost easier to win the lottery than find one of these high-end age-stated Japanese whiskies and when they do pop up they go for eye watering sums.
I can’t exactly say I would pay the auction or secondary prices for a Hibiki 21, but I can say that if I could find one for its SRP circa 2014 it would be in the running for next year’s birthday bottle. I can’t, so I won’t stress about it and just be happy that I got to try the generous sample that I did. Hibiki 21 is a good complex whisky that I recommend getting a taste of if you can.
SCORE: 92/100 (A-)
Hibiki 21 Review
- Nose - 92
- Palate - 92
- Finish - 92
- Balance, Body & Feel - 92
Hibiki 21 is a great whisky and I wish you the best of luck in finding a bottle.