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A Night In With The Masters Of Fine Japanese Whisky

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The following article has been sponsored by Suntory

Unrivalled excellence can manifest itself in many forms.

In the illustrious world of premium whiskies, we’d say the Japanese have it down to a fine art form of their own.

We know because we recently had the pleasure of sitting down at an intimate dinner with one of Japan’s oldest breweries, Suntory. Along for the ride on this special event was their global ambassador Mike Miyamoto, who was in the country to help launch and spread his vast knowledge on their latest masterpiece that is Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky.

A Distinguished Roll Call

The setting couldn’t have been more fitting for an exclusive dinner with high profile guests of Australia’s culinary world. Merivale’s Dan Hong, Masterchef’s Adam Liaw and Hartsyard’s dessert maestro Andy Bowdy were all in attendance at Double Bay’s Saké Restaurant & Bar for a lesson in fine Japanese food and drink.

Mike Miyamoto who has been with Suntory since 1978 was the perfect ambassador for the night who didn’t just provide great insight into our whisky tastings but also spoke of a colourful and decorated backstory into his career and the years he’d spent across different nations sharing the spirit of Suntory.

But the night’s real stars? That belonged to the beverages.

Sampling The Finest (& Staying Sober)

Our first order of the night was a guide by Mike Miyamoto who outlined Suntory’s whisky making efforts in the early 1900s and its introduction into Japan from the Western world.

Miyamoto explained how different oak barrels that were sourced from selected woods from around the world could define the taste of their whiskies over the meticulous ageing process. Suntory uses only select oak for their barrels which come from either Spain, America or Japan’s own Mizunara from Hokkaido. The result is a distinguishable aroma for every batch of whisky they produce.

Accompanying this presentation were six whiskies from their current award-winning Hibiki range which began in 1989. We started off with the label’s 17 year-old Chita Grain which was a solid 55% alcohol blend and held the strongest in distinct woodiness flavour.

The tastings gradually progressed through the different compositions of whisky where citrus and other elements were added to provide an often complex and distinct sweetness to every aged bottle.

This would eventually lead us onto the final star of the night, the Hibiki Japanese Harmony.

Welcoming A Rising Son

Suntory’s Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the latest blend from the pioneers of whisky in Japan. As a company that has been crowned Distiller of the Year four times in the past, you can rest assure that their latest effort honours this reputation as a poised blend which is designed to be both highly versatile and balanced.

Whether you’re enjoying it neat, blending it with water, mixing it as a cocktail or serving it with a classic hand-carved ice ball, the new Hibiki Japanese Harmony can add flavour and complexity to any dining experience.

The secret, we were told, resides in the Harmony’s 12 malt and grain whiskies which are blended together to provide an array of flavours and aromas.

The Way Of Fine Japanese Cuisine

Min Kim who is the Executive Chef at Saké presented us with a sensational menu to accompany Suntory’s finest on this night. Guests were treated to dishes such as Wagyu chuck rib served alongside Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve on a half rock of chiselled ice, and the very lavish (and expensive) Hokkaido Yumepirika rice with five types of caviar.

The combination of the food and whisky could do no wrong for us, topping it all off with an amazing scent of rose, lychee and sandalwood into its honey-like sweetness. We call this a perfect accompaniment to an exceptional dining experience.

And how does one know when the food and drink is truly up to scratch? When an entire room of pro chefs whip out their iPhones to take photos of the beautiful dishes before going completely silent upon tasting it. No words. Just smiles. This is the way fine Japanese dining should be relished.

An Experience For Yourself

Mike Miyamoto explained that the goal of Hibiki whisky was to be both refined, yet complex in taste. After this unique experience, one cannot doubt that goal and Suntory’s unyielding passion for delivering the world’s finest whisky with every new blend.

Today, you too can experience this unrivalled passion for yourself with Suntory Whisky holding luxury pop ups in Sydney and Melbourne over the months of July and August called the House of Suntory Exclusive Takeover.

To discover this sensational blend for yourself, head straight to their Facebook page for all tasting locations and times.

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