There is a perception that Japanese whisky is merely reengineered Scotch, but the truth is that Japanese whisky distillers are now forging their own path. Hibiki’s 17-Year is a terrific example: Blended from Suntory’s Yamazaki and Hakashu distilleries’ stocks, along with grain distillate from its Chita distillery, and aged in a combination of American and Japanese oak barrels as well as Sherry butts, it’s remarkably elegant. Don’t let the whisky’spale color trick you—it packs a ton of flavor, from pear and apple to mint and caramelized bananas, with an herbal pine-rosemary edge.
Beam Suntory, Deerfield, IL
This story appears in the print issue of December 2014.
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