House of Suntory Continues 100th Anniversary Celebration With a Hibiki Whisky that Harnesses ‘Challenging Yet Rewarding’ Mizunara Oak
On Monday, the House of Suntory announced the launch of a limited-edition Hibiki expression and bottle re-design for Hibiki Japanese Harmony. Both releases are part of a year-long celebration of House of Suntory’s 100th anniversary.
The Hibiki brand launched in 1989 under House of Suntory. Today, it is a widely demanded blended Japanese whisky, according to Beam Suntory. House of Suntory made the choice to celebrate in style for the limited release of the 21-year-old expression. Rare mizunara oak was used during the aging process, although the brand didn’t specify exactly how, simply saying the prized Mizunara oak was used for “profoundly influencing” the blend.
“For the limited-edition Hibiki 21-Year-Old, our team took on the challenge of crafting a new blend to celebrate our centennial,” Chief Blender of Suntory Shinji Fukuyo said in a news release. “With meticulous precision, we managed to harness the challenging yet rewarding characteristics of Japanese Mizunara oak to accentuate the unique flavor profile for which our Hibiki whiskies are known. This special whisky showcases our continued dedication to craftsmanship at the House of Suntory.”
The brand claims the label design of this expression is meant to evoke a Japanese sunrise, which symbolizes “life, vitality, and the ever-flowing passage of time.” Suntory claims the whisky embodies the essence of “wa,” or “oneness,” with its aroma and flavor profile. Hibiki 21-Year-Old is bottled at 43% ABV and has a suggested retail price of $5,000 per 750-milliliter bottle.
The Hibiki Japanese Harmony bottle redesign celebrates the brand’s 100th anniversary with a bespoke label that features images of snow, the moon and flowers as a celebration of Japan’s changing seasons. The bottle depicts a “Kakehashi,” or bridge. This represents the linking of Japan to the past, present and future. Water flows underneath, which represents the cleansing of hardships. The limited release of Hibiki Japanese Harmony is bottled at 43% ABV. It has a suggested retail price of $200 for a 750-milliliter bottle.
These releases are the latest in a parade of celebratory expressions for the 100th anniversary. In May, Suntory launched the Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt whiskies. The brand also released limited-edition labels of the Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old for the centennial.
In May, the brand announced a campaign set to be directed by Sophia Coppola starring Keanu Reeves for the special year. The director and the “John Wick” actor worked together in a “Suntory Time” campaign and a series of documentary shorts titled “The Nature and Spirit of Japan,” meant to explore “wa.” The shorts also highlighted the importance of Japanese craftsmanship championed by the Suntori brand, called “monozukuri.” The first episode of the docuseries can be viewed below:
Hibiki 21 Year Old Tasting Notes, via House of Suntory
Nose: Refined and elegant, with jasmine, kumquat and Japanese incense.
Taste: Sweet and floral with spiced sandalwood and agarwood.
Finish: Long and deep, with undertones of spiced Mizunara.
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