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House of Suntory creates 21YO Hibiki

Japanese whisky producer The House of Suntory has revealed a limited edition 21-year-old Hibiki and a new bottle design to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Hibiki centennial
The House of Suntory has unveiled two Hibiki whiskies to mark its 100th year

The 21-year-old whisky and a new limited edition bottle design for Hibiki Japanese Harmony marks a century since founder Shinjiro Torii established Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in 1923.

Originally making its debut in 1989, Hibiki is a blend of various malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries.

The limited edition Hibiki 21 Year Old is a marriage of malt and grain whiskies, with rare mizunara oak placed at the forefront, which is said to have ‘profoundly influenced the blend’ while still maintaining Hibiki’s character and essence.

Chief blender of Suntory, Shinji Fukuyo, noted that the team took on the challenge of crafting a new blend with “meticulous precision” to celebrate the milestone.

“We managed to harness the challenging-yet-rewarding characteristics of Japanese mizunara oak to accentuate the unique flavour profile for which our Hibiki whiskies are known,” he said. “This special whisky showcases our continued dedication to craftsmanship at the House of Suntory.”

The design of the label for the Hibiki 21 Year Old bottle features a gradual transition of colours, chosen to evoke the sunrise in Japan.

The whisky offers ‘refined and elegant’ notes of kumquat and jasmine with Japanese incense, with subtly sweet and floral hints combined with spiced sandalwood and agarwood on the palate.

The result is a long and deep finish with undertones of spiced Mizunara wood.

The 21-year-old Hibiki is bottled at 43% ABV and is available from select retailers from October, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and The Whisky Shop, for RRP £5,200 (US$6,439).

Celebratory packaging

In addition to the Hibiki 21 Year Old, The House of Suntory has unveiled a centennial Hibiki Japanese Harmony bottle design, created to bring the art of monozukuri craftsmanship to life.

The Hibiki Japanese Harmony centennial edition packaging features motifs of snow, moon and flowers, each representing Japan’s changing seasons.

The ‘Kakehashi’ bridge is depicted to symbolise the emotional connection of the Japanese people to their country’s unique seasonality and its significance in everyday life, fostering ‘an appreciation for time’ that House of Suntory says ‘deeply resonates and inspires’ Hibiki.

Amber in colour, the whisky presents notes of rose, lychee, a hint of rosemary, mature woodiness, and sandalwood on the nose.

It offers aromas of honey-like sweetness, candied orange peel and white chocolate.

The finish is both subtle and tender with a hint of mizunara.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony is bottled at 43% ABV and is available from select retailers from October, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, and The Whisky Shop.

It is offered at RRP £210 (US$260).

Earlier this year, the House of Suntory unveiled its centennial edition Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt whiskies.

Limited 100th anniversary labels of the flagship Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old were also released for the centennial.

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