There’s a big price gap due to retail value and secondary market value.
- Chita (NAS, not available in the U.S.), $40-$50 (note: 700 ML)
- Hakushu 12, $80-$90
- Hibiki Harmony (NAS), $55-$90
- Hibiki 12 (discontinued), $80-$200
- Yamazaki (NAS), N/A
- Yamazaki 12 (not available in the U.S.), $90-$150
- Yamazaki Sherry Cask (NAS), $2,000-$3,000
Chita (NAS, not sold in the U.S.)
The Chita Suntory has a bit of a chocolate coconut profile and it tastes like a young Carsbridge Or North British grain whisky. I personally like grains when they’re in the 20s and beyond because they taste like an almond joy candy. This guy has a bit of kick like a Taketsuru Pure Malt –the alcohol comes out, but it’s not insanely hot and fiery. In some ways it reminds me of the Girvan Patent Still No. 4. They both posses that caramel coconut kick, while elmer’s glue hit my nasal cavity. The Nama Chocolate Royce Sherry Wood Yamazaki Chocolate is divine. I could get pregnant off of this. So creamy and velvety. Pairing with chocolate was a mistake because the candy just took over my palate and caused the Chita to take a back seat of the car. Hell, it was so far in the back it might as well be in the trunk of the car. Good stuff
There’s a thin line between being an arrogant fack and being confident, Tony Stark struggles with finding that balance, and that’s why he enjoys getting crunked until rolling blackouts occur. Like my favorite comedian Nick Swardson says, “I like drinking until I pass out because when I was a kid I always wanted to play detective. So, when I wake up I have a lot of mysteries to solve”.
As much as I like to get down and dirty with cask strength single malts, there’s always a time to kick back and play some slow jams. Now, I’m not talking about R.Kelly cuz I don’t trust a man singing runs about his life for 45 minutes or being trapped in a closet, but I’m talking about a man falsetto-ing into you ear and cooing to cuddle-bunny lyrics, while the bass backs up some major chords. Did I hear a dominate 7th chord banging against that violin’s g-string? Say whaaaa?? Those r&b singers are all about that, man! OK, maybe there’s no violin, but there’s definitely some dom 7 chords, yo.
Anyway, that’s what Hakushu 12 Year is to me; it’s a balance of both autumn and spring, where two seasons collide and make one kick-ass, beautiful baby. The char-like smoke is fainter than a Highland Park 18 Year and it’s balanced out by green apples, lime zest and morning dew. Basically, this is the Lance Bass to Justin Timberlake’s smoking dance moves. The earthiness appears to be analogous to Bunnhabhain 18 Year, though the Bunna-babe’s proof is higher than the gentle Hakushu 12 Year. I love this, and you should give this a shot if you’re curious about smoky malts, but aren’t ready for Laphroaig.
Hibiki Harmony (NAS)
43% abv: This guy tastes grapefruit-forward with a bit of an alcoholic kick, but it rides off into the sunset with honey tones. It sweetens up when I let it sit for over 20 minutes and honey pulls through, but the Hibiki 12 has a big edge over this guy because it’s smoother and more harmonious.
Once it oxidizes it tastes more like a grain whisky from Chita, North British Distillery and Cameronbridge Distillery. I guess the best way to describe those profiles (when they’re fairly young) would be …well, imagine you’re sipping a standard Jameson and you’re chillin’ with a friend who wanted to go to a bar and claimed he loved whisky. Unbeknownst to him, he was playing Flip Cup with that liqueur and he thought he was all man like Ron Swanson. Then , you order him a bourbon and he drinks it and says, “Ack. What is this? This tastes like Mike Tyson just cold cocked me in the mouth.” In truth, he was really referring to the time when he got his ass kicked by buff chicks on motorcycles with heart tats that said, “I Lilith Fair”. For you young kids, this is an awesome, obscure reference about the time when indie pop rock singers who didn’t shave their pits were the shit. Yeh, I’m talking about a time when Third Eye Blind was cool and Stephen Jenkins was still cuddling hard with Charlize Theron. Then, he poured the rest of his Elmer T. Lee into your glass. Yar. That’s what a young, grain whisky tastes like. I once compared the Hibiki Harmony to a tween, a kid who is about to turn into a colossal asshole because he thinks he’s too cool for school but he still has redeeming qualities cuz he still appreciates Saturday morning cartoons.
You may also like: Glenrothes Select Reserve, Glenrothes Alba Reserve, Compass Box Oak Cross
Hibiki 12 (discontinued)
This little delicate flower, as many of you already know, is discontinued and the Hibiki Harmony is its replacement. Part of its component is composed of Chita aged in a mizunara cask. For those who don’t know what mizunara is, it’s grain is tight like a yoga butt, and this wood usually gives a sandlewood or incense profile to the spirit. So, they find that the Chita juice tastes yummy in mizunara at 16 years of age and beyond. As a result, they had to pull the chord on this one because they can’t keep up with the demands.
Now that Japanese whiskies are as desirable as a Victoria Secret fashion model, Hibiki 12 Year has turned into a unicorn with wings. I guess that makes it a Pegasus. Yes, it’s rare now and everyone wants to know her cuz she’s hot and Shexy, but tough titties, you guys. You can’t take her out or see her unless you can afford Bloomingdale’s. One day, she’s gonna get ultra high maintenance and won’t talk to you unless you got deep, Louis Vuitton pockets You’re gonna cash out on your life savings and take a 4th job in hopes that she’ll play cuddle time with you. Is that a chance you guys wanna take? Well, for a hot, unattainable chick who winks at you every now and then AND has an ass that breaks mountains, I know you guys will get really dickstracted and jump the gun. It’s cool. If you got the monies for it, go for it, bro.
Anyway, back to Hibiki and its tasting note: this is a light, gentle whisky with an approachable mouthfeel. It’s expression is filled with raspberry, hints of sandlewood and a bit of oak, I like that this is quite well balanced, gentle and clean. It’s an explosion of spring in your mouth, where peonies bloom and hummingbirds flutter back and forth between two rose bushes. They’re so magical like unicorns.
You may also like: (Although it’s a blended whisky, it tastes like a sinlge malt to me). Glengarioch Founder’s Reserve (I find raspberry profiles here, though the mouthfeel is more full-bodied and maybe a bit spicy). However, in terms of lightness in terms of viscosity and fruitiness it reminds me of Old Pulteny 12 Year and Glenfiddich 12 ( both have green apples) and Aberlour 12.
Yamazaki (NAS, not available in the U.S.)
I tried this gem on 1 May 2014. My co-worker at the time brought this back after he visited Yamazaki. Currently he’s working at Bar Hi-Five (in Japan). I know one day I’m gonna flip through a magazine and find him featured in an article and he’s gonna kick major ass internationally.
Flavour: This tastes like pecans with a hint of grass. It is mainly nutty and the mouthfeel and texture is reminiscent of the Yamazaki 12 year. Yar…sorry, my notes are shitty here. I was sipping other stuff at the time. hehe…During training we would go “too fast and too furious” Tokyo Drift style and I couldn’t play cuddle time with this one long enough.
Technical Speculation: I hear this is 10-25 years of age, though mainly it’s 12 years of age. The 12 year is mainly exposed to puncheon with a little bit of sherry, while the 25 year is only aged in sherry. The 18 year is aged mostly in sherry. Then, they let this mingle. Hopefully @whiskyjapan can correct me and provide some feedback. I remember there was a running debate about the composition of this bad boy. 🙂 I’m looking forward to anyone to who can provide feedback here. Thank you very much.
Oh Yeah! This is a chocolate lover’s delight. I think this is more straight forward and less complex than Hibiki 17 Year, but I love sweet stuff. In fact, I worked at an ice cream shop for 3 years and I ate so much ice cream that I looked like a chipmunk storing food all winter.
Since I’ve been pairing Lord of the Rings Legos with Hibiki, I might as well stay on this train. This is the Aragorn of all whiskeys. Mmm nothing more sexy than a bruno with sweaty hair who’s about to kick some major Sauron Ass. This is a full-on chocolate pudding esssplosion in your mouth.
It is the flavor of sunshine, rainbows and unicorns riding up your tongue, while lady love jams impregnate your ears. Yeah, I’m talking about Alicia Keys giving you that sweet, chocolate lovin’ of r&b jams, while she’s banging on those dominant 7 chords, suckah. Homegirl is the queen of triplet notes and e flat major chords. The only person who’s usurping her in the arpeggio arena is Yanni. Yeah, you didn’t think you could get some New Age reference and Baby-Makin music in one go, but I did it cuz I’m ridiculous.
All this talk makes me want to work at Baskin Robbins again. It does have a very walnut-forward profile when you first crack it open, but if you add a few drops of water, the chocolate will pull through. However, if you don’t feel like adding water to it, just let it sit in the glass and it will slowly change into choco-late goodness.
You make also like: Chivas Regal 18 Year (an incredibly underrated scotch) and Glengoyne 18 Year. For those who are down with a bit more punch, but love chocolate expressions Sheep Dip, Deanston 12 Un-Chill Filtered, Longmorn 16 (though more pralines than chocolate), Glencadam 15 Year are all about that life. Do it!
Yamazaki Sherry Cask, 2016 Edition
Gollum is guarding this whisky because it’s his jam. I had no idea that some Japanese whiskies have turned into Pappy Van Winkler-Woo status. Holy Burritos! WHAT THE double beer chug of Tecate?? DAYAMN! These bottles are going for $2,000 on auction sites. I hope one day the stuff I make will be worth some Urrrshur Rayomnd the 4th monies, so I can say, “Chu got it…Chu got it bad with my doodles, boo!” Then, I can roll around on a yacht, drink some Dom Perignon, and wipe my butt with a hundy dolla bill. That’s probably gross. I bet those Benjamins are covered in cocaine. No one wants to go down like Elis Regina!
Flavour: I’m purely focusing on flavor here and not price point. This may sound offensive or a relief to people, but hopefully…regardless…I hope.people will calm their tits and be happy with whatever whisky they drink. This is fantastic. I really love this one because it’s smooth like any great r&b singer falsetto-ing to my ear about how much he wants to get up close and personal with some of that sweet PX/Olorosso Sherry ASS. I do not know the technical components of this juice, but there’s a sweetness that reminds me of Glendronach 12 (like it’s been bear-hugged by some PX, sunlight and rainbows) . The creamy, jammy red fruits are present with just a touch of carmel. It’s like Beyoncee just busted her juicy thighs and said, “I still got it. I am Queen B and you better believe it.” However, I think this is quite similar to Glendronach 15 Year. It’s loaded with sherry. Excellent for a sherry-bomb lover. I just said this is similar to Glendronach 15, which is substantially cheaper in price than Yamazaki. I hope that doesn’t come off offensive to the Suntory Team. All of this stuff is great. I love Yamazaki and Glendronach. They can do no wrong, though maybe @whisky_rover has a different opinion?? Who knows.
You may also like: Glendronach 15, Glendronach 12…fack man…any Glendronach will do..ahhahah, though some have more punch than the others AND. Macallan 12 and 18
About Suntory (via Wikipedia)
is a Japanese brewing and distilling company group. Established in 1899, it is one of the oldest companies in the distribution of alcoholic beverages in Japan, and makes Japanese whisky. Its business has expanded to other fields, and the company now also makes soft drinks and operates sandwich chains. With its 2014 acquisition of Beam, Inc., it has diversified internationally and become one of the largest makers of distilled beverages in the world. Suntory is headquartered in Dojimahama 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. – for the full article.
About Whisky Anorach
Since the Anorach “whisky wingman” isn’t into self-promotion, I’m adding all the articles and her Instagram links below, so that you can see pics of her shenanigans rolling around in whisky barrels or doing handstands in front of various distilleries – Editor
- Instgram: WhiskyAnorach
- Thrillist “16 Female Bartenders You Need to Know in LA”.
- LA Magazine “Bar Jackalope’s Linh Do and Her Fashionable Whiskey Love”
- Whisky Intelligence “K&L California Whisk(e)y News – September 2016 – Whisky News”
- Eat Drink Films “Killing the Cool : Understanding the rise of Japanese whisky”
- Liquor.com: “Bliss in a Barrel” Profile