Today while shopping at Max Value, I found something I found eye catching. On the clearance shelf in the liquor section there was a small bottle of whisky marked down to 500 yen (around five bucks). Above the garish markdown label was the English phrase “17 years”.

Now I’ve only had serious whisky one other time in my life. One of those ones aged in sherry casks and a bit cloyingly sweet (relatively speaking) after a successful thesis defense. On seeing this little bottle, I figured it was worth the cost and picked it up.

The name is “Hibiki”, and it’s a 17 year old blend, but usually costs more than single malts (the distinction between blends and single malts and geographic distinctions is about the limit of my whiskey knowledge).

Here’s a website with a bit more information by people who actually know their stuff about such matters.

When poured, it about only amounts to a finger and a half’s worth of alcohol. The bottle is pretty damn small, with the bottom looking a bit more volumous than it actually is. No matter, still a good deal.

The bouquet is amazing. If I was blindfolded, I would have guessed it was a Sercial Madeira with interesting hints of wood. I don’t see the floralness, it’s closer to candied fruits to me. The taste is slightly sweet on the tongue, but given my inexperience with whisky, I don’t know how it relates among other whiskys in that regard. Other than an initial toffee and fruit burst at the beginning, the taste is really woody, with the nose and finish being long and creamy. For some reason it’s evocative of hot cocoa in a roughly hewn Oregon wood cabin. I simply can’t describe the complexiety of the finish with any justice. You’d have to give it a shot yourself.

All in all, highly recommended.

Pics forthcoming when I actually get around to loading them. Yeah, I know, I’m lazy.