Category Archives: Suntory (Japan)

Suntory ‘Kakubin’

Bought: Whisky Exchange, 28th September 2016

92/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
73.7/100 – Whiskybase (average from 12 member vote)

This Japanese blend is a bit of a curiosity, especially when you compare the Whisky Bible rating to the average score on Whiskybase. Jim Murray’s mark of 92/100 in his Whisky Bible 2017 classifies this whisky as ‘brilliant’. His review consists of “absolutely brilliant blend of stunningly refreshing and complex character. One of the most improved brands in the world.” It seems a shame then that the only place on Whiskybase that’s selling it says it’s discontinued. Because of that they’re charging €50 for a bottle when a Whiskybase member says it sells for the equivalent of €20 in Japan.

Scoring nearly 74/100 on Whiskybase suggests a poor-to-average whisky. Comments include, “cheap rice wine” and “this isn’t a great whisky but it is certainly an unusual, fascinating and educational one. It has its moments too – that candid vodka note is pleasing in this example and the balance between the spice, sour citrus and sugar is good. Overall though it’s totally underpowered and rather an oddity.”

Here’s Frozen Summers with his review on You Tube (May 2015):


Hibiki Suntory 12-year-old

Bought: Waitrose, 14th July 2015

89/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
89/100 – Ralfy of (his video below from Oct 2011)
83.92/100 – Whiskybase (average from 14 member votes)

Here’s a Japanese blend that’s been teasing me on the shelves of my local Waitrose supermarket for what seems like years. As Ralfy says in his video below, it’s the bottle shape that first catches your eye and you wonder if the content is any good. Apparently it is! Jim Murray’s score of 89/100 in his Whisky Bible classifies this dram as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying” and his review consists of “a sensual whisky full of lightly sugared riches”.

Both Ralfy and Jim Murray’s reviews date back to 2011 so I’m hoping my bottle from 2015 contains a whisky of similar class and quality. Getting nearly 84/100 on Whiskybase is excellent, and this mark is specific to the 50cl bottling (the one I have). Ralfy reviews the 70cl, which gets 83/100 on Whiskybase (but admittedly from 173 votes compared to 14 for the smaller 50cl). In general it seems this whisky is a nice little sipper and the bottle looks good on the sideboard too!

Hibiki Suntory 12yo 50cl

Suntory Royal – Japanese Blended Whisky

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 20th May 2015

88/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)
4.5/5 – Master of Malt (average from 2 reviews)

I attempted to buy two miniatures of this Japanese blend at auction but ended up with the tatty one with the torn label. Even so it cost me £4.75. The bottle in better condition went for £8.25. I’m sure a year or so ago I could have got it for £3 but it goes to show the rise in popularity of Japanese whisky of late, even for a blend! 5 months before this auction a full bottle sold for £37.50.

As I write, The Whisky Exchange are selling a full bottle of this blend for £89.95. The details they give are: “Suntory Royal blended whisky was first introduced in 1960 to mark the company’s 60th anniversary. Light and easy to drink, this is a superb entry-level Japanese whisky.”

A review can be found here on Pete Drinks.

Suntory Royal 5cl