For more than a century, Suntory whisky has been an iconic symbol of Japanese whisky. Established in 1899 by Shinjiro Torii, the company quickly became renowned for its creation of sophisticated spirits like their popular Hibiki line of blended whiskies that have since gained worldwide recognition and acclaim.
Established in 1989 to commemorate its 90th Anniversary, the Hibiki Range is a true embodiment of whisky excellence. From Master Select and Harmony varieties that boast unparalleled flavor profiles perfect for any special occasion or just an indulgent treat – it’s easy to see why these whiskies are beloved by many.
Crafted with expertise and precision, Hibiki Master Select blends together exquisite malt and grain whiskies that have been carefully aged in traditional Japanese oak casks. Its flavour profile is nothing short of remarkable – sweet notes of honey and orange blossom unfold delicately on the palate, complemented by subtle hints of mocha and spice.
The Harmony expression blends 5 different malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita Distilleries as well as others from around Japan. This results in an incredibly complex flavour profile featuring notes of tropical fruits, citrus zest, gingerbread spice and coconut.
Together these two expressions offer something for everyone when it comes to Japanese whisky: strong yet nuanced flavours that are sure to please even the most discerning palate. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or simply something to sip on while you contemplate life’s mysteries. Within this article, I’ll weigh up each element of both of these whiskies so that you can make an informed decision as to which is best for you: Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony.
Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony: Quick Look Comparison
Hibiki Harmony Master Select
Nose: Luscious plums, decadent syrup, fragrant roses, and sugary wood
Palate: Tart orange marmalade is balanced out by a smooth, rich dark chocolate that leaves behind an alluringly bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied
Finish: A delicate blend of sweetness, subtle spices and woody aromas.
Age: No Age Statement
Cask/Barrels: 10 malt and grain whiskies blend together to create a luminous harmony of flavours and aromas. American White Oak malt whiskies create the base, with rare Mizunara (Japanese oak) and sherry cask malt whiskies
Strength: 43% ABV / 86 proof
Price: £68 / $84
Nose: Luscious layers of deep, sweet honey envelop succulent red berries and crunchy green apples.
Palate: Melted butter and caramelised dates. A subtle hint of sandalwood develops into a comforting, woody spice.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, well rounded
Finish: An aromatic blend of brown sugar, zesty citrus peels, sweet white grape and spice-infused black pepper.
Age: No Age Statement
Cask/Barrels: whiskies are drawn from 5 different types of cask, including American white oak casks, Sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks.
Strength: 43% ABV / 86 proof
Price: £75 / $92
Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony: Harmony Master Select Review
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Masters Select is a singular creation that seamlessly blends together the natural beauty and artistry of Japan.
This extraordinary blend of over 10 malt and grain whiskies is a masterpiece in balance, showcasing subtle sherry notes that coalesce harmoniously to create an array of luminous aromas and flavours.
Drawing on the finest of American White Oak whiskies, this concoction is enhanced by Mizunara and sherry cask malts that offer a unique flavour. Subtle accents from smoky malt whiskeys add complexity while Chita grain whiskeys provide delicate harmony for an exquisite taste experience.
Hibiki Harmony Masters Select is an exquisite blend of malt and grain whiskies that offers a unique and complex flavour experience. The whisky has a nose of luscious plums, decadent syrup, fragrant roses and sugary wood, while on the palate it displays a delightful combination of orange marmalade and dark chocolate balanced with subtle bitterness. This exquisite blend also features delicate notes of tropical fruits, citrus zest, gingerbread spice, coconut and brown sugar.
The whisky is carefully crafted from over 10 malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s Yamazaki distillery, Hakushu distillery, Chita Distillery as well as others from around Japan. American White Oak malt whiskies make up the base for this luminous harmony of flavours and aromas, while rare Mizunara (Japanese oak) casks provide depth and complexity to the spirit. Sherry cask malts add sweetness while smoky malts lend accents to create an unforgettable taste experience.
Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony: Harmony Review
Harmony is an incredibly fitting choice of words for the immaculately crafted Japanese blended whisky from the Hibiki range. This well-balanced blend incorporates malt whiskies from Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, with grain whisky coming from Chita distillery to complete this harmonious combination.
Expertly blended by Shingo Torii and his team, this exquisite whisky is comprised of five distinctive casks – American white oak, Sherry, and Mizunara oak – that create a complex flavour profile.
When taking a deep whiff of Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony, you’ll be enveloped in an aroma of luscious honey, accompanied by sweet and juicy notes of succulent red berries and crisp green apples. The nose is incredibly inviting with an accent of warm sandalwood that adds a hint of woody spice.
On the palate, the whisky has a smooth yet lingering finish that leaves behind a complex mix of flavours including melted butter, caramelised dates, brown sugar, zesty citrus peels. The finish is a combination sweet white grape and spice-infused black pepper which brings a little warm kick to the end.
The five distinctive casks – American white oak, Sherry, and Mizunara oak – bring together the perfect balance between these flavourful components to create an unforgettable experience.
Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony: The Comparison
Exploring and comparing the Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony is a perfect way to explore two of Hibiki’s finest varieties from their Japanese whisky selection.
The Hibiki Harmony Masters Select whisky is a brilliant blend of Japanese artistry and natural beauty. This sophisticated combination contains in excess of 10 malt-grain whiskies, including American White Oak malts, Mizunara oak barrels and sherry cask malts all masterfully chosen by the distiller himself to create this harmonious elixir. Its composition boasts an especially high proportion of malt compared to other similar blends on the market today.
The combination of flavours and aromas are remarkable, fusing together in a perfect union. Take a whiff, and you’ll be treated to sumptuous plums, delightful syrup, fragrant roses, and sweetness from the wood.
On the palate it displays a delightful combination of orange marmalade and dark chocolate balanced with subtle bitterness, along with notes of tropical fruits, citrus zest, gingerbread spice, coconut and brown sugar.
In comparison to the Harmony expression is Hibiki Master Select which has been expertly blended by Shingo Torii and his team. This exquisite whisky is comprised of five distinctive casks – American white oak, Sherry, Mizunara oak – creating a complex flavour profile on both the nose and palate.
The nose presents an aroma of honey combined with sweet red berries and crisp green apples with warm sandalwood in the background adding a hint of woody spice. On the palate you can taste melted butter, caramelised dates, brown sugar as well as zesty citrus peels finishing off with a sweet white grape mixed with spice-infused black pepper for an added kick on the finish.
The largest component by volume in Harmony Masters Select is grain whisky coming from Chita distillery which adds complexity to this exquisite blend along with its other five cask types – American white oak malt whiskies provide the base for this harmony while rare Mizunara (Japanese oak) casks impart depth and character to the spirit while smoky malts give accents making it even more nuanced. All these elements come together perfectly to create an unforgettable whisky experience that celebrates balance in perfect harmony.
Hibiki Master Select vs Harmony: Food Pairing
Hibiki Harmony Master Select Food Pairing
Hibiki Harmony Master Select is the perfect companion for spicy dishes. Harmonising the sweet and spice of a meal, it adds complexity to your palate.
Its delicious aroma of luscious honey, succulent red berries and crisp green apples makes it a great pairing with spicy food such as vindaloo curry, aromatic Thai dishes and even Mexican chilli con carne.
Not only does Hibiki Harmony Masters Select pair perfectly with spicy dishes but its smooth finish allows you to fully appreciate all the different elements of the whisky. On top of that, its sweetness helps to counterbalance the heat from the spices in your food – making this unique blend a must-have for anyone who enjoys fiery cuisine.
Hibiki Harmony Master Select is also the perfect accompaniment to fish or sushi due to its ability to highlight and complement the rich, oily flavours of the salmon. The whisky’s complexity from the sweet and spice blend beautifully with the freshness of the fish, creating an unforgettable experience that celebrates balance.
The notes of orange marmalade and dark chocolate give a lovely sweetness that pairs well with sashimi and nigiri. The tropical fruits and citrus zest bring out the juicy flavours in salmon, while the gingerbread spice adds a hint of warmth. Meanwhile, smoky malt accents provide an extra layer of depth that rounds off each bite perfectly.
The smooth finish also allows you to appreciate all of Hibiki’s nuanced flavours while bringing out a unique bouquet in every piece of sushi or sashimi. Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience by savoring Japanese delicacies like sushi and salmon, paired with the smooth taste of Harmony.
Hibiki Harmony Food Pairing
Hibiki Harmony is an exquisite and complex whisky that works excellently with many different types of cuisine. The union of five distinct casks – American white oak, Sherry, Mizunara oak and smoky malt – creates a rich mix of aromas, flavours and underpinning finishes which enhances any meal it’s enjoyed alongside. One food pairing especially exemplary for the distilled spirit is wagu beef – this combination will seem perfect to all fans!
Wagu beef is a succulent, flavourful cut of steak originating from Japan that features an ultra-rich marbling. Its distinctive texture and taste make it the ideal companion for Hibiki Harmony’s complex flavour profile.
The whisky’s sweetness from the orange marmalade and dark chocolate notes helps to bring out the richness in the wagu beef while its spice-infused black pepper finish adds an extra layer of depth to the meal. Its subtle bitterness also works to cut through some of the fatty richness in the meat, creating a balanced experience on both palate and nose that celebrates harmony between whisky and food.
The warmth of gingerbread spice in Hibiki Harmony provides a pleasant accompaniment to the rich seared beef while its tropical fruits provide a hint of freshness to balance out each bite. The whisky’s complexity further amplifies the nuances in each savoury bite – enhancing every nuance in your meal while offering more depth than other whiskies might provide.
Pairing wagu beef with Hibiki Harmony creates an unforgettable experience as both complement each other perfectly – resulting in an exquisite combination that honours harmony between ingredients to create something truly special. Enjoying this combination will leave you feeling satisfied but not overly full so you can appreciate all the different elements that make up this remarkable dish.
The warmth of the spiced apple tarte tatin pairs perfectly with Hibiki Harmony’s gingerbread spice notes. The subtle sweetness of the whisky accentuates the tartness of the apples, while its complexity amplifies each flavour in the dish. The orange marmalade and dark chocolate notes found in Hibiki harmoniously complement the caramelised sugar and spices from the tarte tatin, creating a balance that enhances both whisky and dessert.
Additionally, Hibiki Harmony’s tropical fruits provide a refreshing acidity to contrast with the richness of the dessert; while its smoky malt accents offer an extra layer of depth to round off each bite perfectly. This combination creates an unforgettable culinary experience that celebrates harmony between ingredients to create something truly special. Enjoying this pairing will leave you feeling satisfied but not overly full so you can appreciate all the different elements that make up this remarkable dish.
Hibiki Harmony Master Select Cocktails
Strawberry Samurai Cocktail
The Hibiki Harmony Select whisky adds a magnificent depth to the Strawberry Samurai cocktail, with its sweet and smoky malt accents delicately enhancing the tartness of the strawberry flavours.
Hibiki Harmony Select is a flawless blend of flavours, allowing each one to shine while remaining perfectly balanced. Its mild sweetness cuts through the tangy strawberries and offers an invigorating taste experience each time you take a sip. To add yet another flavour dimension, it has a spicy black pepper finish that leaves your palate with delightful warmth long after finishing your drink.
Satsuma Smash Cocktail
The bold and complex flavour profile of Hibiki Harmony Select’s tart marmalade notes make it the ideal accompaniment to a Satsuma Smash cocktail. Its orange marmalade provides both sweetness and tanginess that is complemented by satsuma’s sweet citrus taste. Additionally, the whisky’s floral hops offer an earthy undertone while its spicy black pepper finish helps to cut through any sharpness in the beverage, resulting in a sensational sip every time!
Hibiki Harmony Select is an intricate blend of complexity and flavour, accentuating every savoury bite while amplifying the nuances in each sip. The smoky malt notes add a hidden sweetness that complements the tartness of satsuma, creating a perfect harmony between whisky and cocktail ingredients.
Hibiki Harmony Cocktails
Hibiki Harmony Yuzu Whisky Sour
The Hibiki Harmony Yuzu Whisky Sour offers a combination of sweet, tart and smoky flavours that perfectly balances each other. The smooth and creamy buttery notes provide a lush backdrop to the tartness of the yuzu and lemon juice, while the whisky’s smoky malt accents add an extra layer of depth that ties the drink together.
What’s more, Hibiki Harmony’s floral hop aromas offer an earthy undercurrent that enhances the brightness of the citrus fruits. Enjoying this cocktail is like tasting sunshine in a glass – it’s light, and refreshing and will leave you feeling satisfied but not overly full, allowing you to appreciate all the different elements that make up this remarkable drink.
Tokyo Side car
Hibiki Master vs Harmony: Final Thoughts
When comparing the Hibiki Master and Harmony spirits, one can’t help but be captivated by their exceptional flavour. The Hibiki Master Select will awaken your taste buds with its bold yet invigorating combination of flavours – ranging from spicy black pepper to a delightful harmony of sweetness and heat that leaves you wanting more! Every sip brings a unique culinary experience as if embarking on an intriguing journey.
On the other hand, the Hibiki Harmony Select features tart marmalade notes, floral hops, smoky malt accents and citrusy satsuma flavours that create an intriguing combination of sweet and tartness.
For whiskey drinkers who appreciate complexity, the Hibiki Harmony is an excellent choice as its intricate flavour profile offers an extra layer of depth to any cocktail it’s used in.
For those looking for something more straightforward, the Hibiki Master Select provides enough depth and character to satisfy even the most discerning palate while still remaining easy to drink. Ultimately, it’s up to you as to which whisky you prefer; both are excellent choices and will provide you with a unique drinking experience.
After evaluating my options, I decided on the Hibiki Master Select because of its unique and captivating character. Compared to the Harmony, this selection exudes a much more vibrant persona.
If you are searching for a whisky that will take your taste buds on a journey, look no further than the Hibiki Master Select. This singular whisky has an audacious yet exquisite flavor with spicy black pepper finishing notes and blends of sweetness and heat that linger on the tongue long after each sip. The extraordinary character and personality of this delectable beverage make it perfect if you desire something full-bodied, complex yet still smooth!
The Hibiki Master Select boasts an unmistakably smoky flavour that is balanced out by its sweet malt notes, creating a sophisticated and refined taste. Its robust yet delicate profile makes it perfect for both mixed drinks and savouring the intricate nuances found within each sip. This exceptional whisky stands apart from other spirits available on the market with its remarkable flavours – making it a must have item in any collection!
Hibiki Master Select is a premium whisky with an unequivocally remarkable character and bold flavour. Each sip will be like embarking on a journey of discovery as you uncover the depths of its savoury nuances, making it the ideal indulgence for aspiring connoisseurs.
If you are keen to read more about Japanese whisky, why not check out Hibiki vs Yamazaki