As noted yesterday, unlike the 17 yo, the Hibiki 12 is available in the US, and is perhaps now the most reasonably priced of the Japanese whiskies available here. And as also noted, the marketing materials for the Hibiki 12 note that it partly contains whisky matured in casks that had contained plum liqueur. Let’s get right to it.
Hibiki 12 (43%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Not a million miles from the 17–polished wood, citrus–but there’s less oomph and also more obvious grain with spicy, grassy notes well to the fore. With time there’s an added fruitiness though I’d be hard-pressed to identify it as originating from the plum liqueur casks. Fifteen minutes later the nose is rather nice and yes, I think I’m getting some plum sauce/cake notes now.
Palate: Tastes less hot than the 17 but it’s not watery–nice soft texture, in fact. There’s also not very much more going on on the palate than there was with the 17; I’m afraid there’s even less here: mostly a kind of generic mildy honeyed, malty thing with some brine and a touch of citrus developing late. Oddly, while the nose improves with time the palate becomes more watery and loses what punch it had.
Finish: Medium. Decent development here. Spicy wood emerges and as the brine and citrus die out they’re replaced by some perfumed wood.
Comments: A fine, easy-drinking blend, but nothing to get carried away about. Once again the nose is the best part and let down by the palate.
Rating: 82 points. (Pulled up by the development on the nose.)