Maltjerry’s Advent Calendar: 25 choices from 2012. 10th Dec.

10th December: Suntory, Hibiki 12-year old. 43% ABV.
From: Japan. Type: Blended whisky. Source: The Whisky Shop

Wandering through Guildford one Saturday afternoon, whiling away the time, trying to get maximum value from my parking ticket, I spotted The Whisky Shop. I didn’t even know of its existence – the whisky retailer that is. I’ve been aware of Guildford for some years. What could I do but walk in.

It’s a very nice place, the Whisky Shop. Perfect for striking up conversations with the knowledgeable staff, sampling a dram, and well, buying whisky. I’d known about Hibiki for some while, having tasted the 17-year old and the 12-year old at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. These are great blends.


In fact, the 17 had recently been voted in Whisky Magazine as best blend since Jim Murray made it OK to like blends. But I was after the 12. It’s not a blend for drowning in mixers, even if you could afford to. You’d lose the subtle Umeshu cask (plum liqueur) finish – and all the other fruity loveliness too. This is not a wacky tasting note; Umeshu casks are used!

The Hibiki 12-year old is sooo, smooth, not a word I like using while describing whiskies, conjuring up images of bland, dinner jazz. This, however, is like listening to Miles through speakers made entirely of satin.

My parking time approaching its maximum value, I make my purchase, join the Whisky Shop club, get my discount, and I’m off. No doubt I’ll be back.

The Whisky Shop