Japanese whisky has soared in popularity in the past decade and part of the category’s fame comes from Japan’s amazing understanding of blending whisky and creating immensely balanced expressions. Japanese distilleries have brought new depth to the blended whisky category, an amazing achievement and one primarily led by two premium ranges: Suntory’s Hibiki expressions and Nikka’s Taketsuru range. Which one, however, comes in at first place? Whisky Debates: Scotch vs Japanese – which should a collector pick? Suntory Hibiki Suntory is one of the oldest and, by far, the most famous whisky company in Japan. The company is behind iconic brands like the Yamazaki, Hakushu, and of course, Hibiki whisky. Hibiki is a blended whisky but, unlike some of the cheaper blends from Scotland, the Hibiki expressions are imbued with luxury, balance and elegance. Why whisky could kill the coronavirus (but not if you drink it) View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dennis Cronk (@whiskey2go) on Mar 16, 2019 at 11:28pm PDT The blends consist of whisky from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries. The aged expressions, the Hibiki 30 Year Old, 21 Year Old and 17 Year Old have been winning awards at global spirits competitions for years. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Personal Blog (@whiskysoccer_oz) on Mar 24, 2020 at 12:09pm PDT The Hibiki 21 Year Old, in particular, was named the world’s best blended whisky at competitions for five years in row, making it the most award-winning blend out there. The bottle’s 24 facets speak of the 24 hours in a day, the 24 seasons of the traditional Japanese calendar, and the balance and steps of making the liquid. The Hibiki range is whisky, but it’s also art. Whisky Debates: Water vs ice – which goes best with your dram? Nikka Taketsuru Japanese whisky has evolved thanks to one timeless rivalry, the one between Suntory and Nikka. Masataka Taketsuru managed the Yamazaki distillery for 10 years before moving on to start Nikka, and thus the rivalry began. The Taketsuru blended whisky range is loved by many and is often described as more powerful and intense than the Hibiki expressions. Like Hibiki, the Taketsuru aged expressions, 17 Year Old, 21 Year Old, and 25 Year Old have grown in popularity over the years and helped blended whisky be seen as a premium category around the world. The aged range has also received numerous awards over the years, but not as many as the Hibiki expressions. Sadly, because of stock shortages Nikka recently discontinued the Taketsuru range. However, we may see them return soon as the aged liquid is replenished. The expressions may still be available in certain markets. Whisky Debates: Glenfiddich 12YO vs Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old The Verdict In terms of bottle shape, global popularity, awards and flavour balance the Hibiki range reigns supreme. However, Suntory’s Hibiki range has given much more to the entire whisky world. Beyond the immense balance and depth of the Hibiki blends, the expressions have managed to accomplish something great, to a level that no other blend has. For years blended whisky across the globe was frowned upon and considered to be a lesser alternative to single malts. View this post on Instagram A post shared by @albetterol on Mar 5, 2020 at 6:41am PST However, the Hibiki range changed that perception and showed the world that blended whisky can be as old, complex and balanced as single malts. With the 30 Year Old, other limited ceramic releases and gorgeous containers, the Hibiki has quickly become more collected and sought after than most of the world’s single malt brands. The range changed a mistaken perception of a whisky category. It’s safe to say other high-end blends would not be where they are today, if not for Suntory’s efforts with its timeless Hibiki range. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .