In the world of fine spirits, there are moments that transcend the ordinary, moments that mark a historical milestone, and moments that capture the essence of craftsmanship. For the House of Suntory, 2023 is one such momentous year, as they celebrate a century of excellence in the art of whisky-making. Founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1923, the House of Suntory has played a pivotal role in shaping the whisky landscape, and this year, they have unveiled a series of limited-edition releases to commemorate their centennial. Among the highlights of this centennial celebration is the long-awaited release of the Hibiki 21-Year-Old, a whisky that has garnered international acclaim for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Originally introduced in 1989, Hibiki has earned its reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious blended whiskies, a testament to the House of Suntory’s commitment to excellence.
For this special centennial edition, the House of Suntory’s Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo, embarked on a journey to craft a new blend that pays tribute to a century of whisky-making tradition. The result is a delicate marriage of malt and grain whiskies, meticulously blended to create an orchestra of flavors and aromas. What sets this centennial edition apart is the use of rare Mizunara oak, a wood known for its challenging yet rewarding characteristics. The Mizunara oak profoundly influences the blend while preserving the character and essence that define Hibiki.
The centennial anniversary label design on the Hibiki 21-Year-Old bottle is a work of art in itself. It gracefully transitions through a spectrum of colors that evoke the sunrise in Japan—a symbol of life, vitality, and the ever-flowing passage of time. In Japanese culture, the sun holds profound meaning, nurturing the surrounding nature and providing essential energy. It serves as a reminder to appreciate life and embrace the changes that come with each passing moment.
In addition to the Hibiki 21-Year-Old, the House of Suntory has also unveiled a limited-edition bottle design of Hibiki Japanese Harmony that pays homage to the past, present, and future. This release embodies the art of “Monozukuri” craftsmanship, reflecting the relentless pursuit of quality, ingenuity, and expressiveness that defines the House of Suntory’s centennial limited editions.
The bottle design of Hibiki Japanese Harmony centennial edition features motifs of snow, moon, and flowers, symbolizing Japan’s changing seasons. The ‘Kakehashi’ (bridge) depicted on the bottle connects Japan and the world, bridging the past, present, and future. The flowing water underneath represents purity and clarity, cleansing away hardships and calamity. The ‘Kakehashi’ serves as a symbol of 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 deeply resonates with and inspires Hibiki.
The limited-edition Hibiki 21-Year-Old and Hibiki Japanese Harmony centennial editions both offer exceptional tasting experiences.
The Hibiki 21-Year-Old, with its tender gold hue, embodies the spirit of “Wa,” or oneness, with enticing aromas of kumquat and jasmine, complemented by Japanese incense. Its palate is subtly sweet and floral, with notes of spiced sandalwood and agarwood, leading to a long and deep finish with hints of spiced Mizunara wood. This remarkable whisky is bottled at 43 percent ABV and is available globally in select markets.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony, in its luminous amber color, presents notes of rose, lychee, a hint of rosemary, mature woodiness, and sandalwood on the nose. The palate offers aromas of honey-like sweetness, candied orange peel, and white chocolate, leading to a subtle and tender finish with a hint of Mizunara. Like its counterpart, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is bottled at 43 percent ABV and is available globally in select markets.
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