Raise A Glass To Suntory’s Latest
The Japanese label’s new addition to its standout Hibiki collection really is the cherry on top.
It was in 1989 that Suntory released its renowned Hibiki collection – a marking of the standout Japanese brand’s 90th anniversary and the beginnings of a feted contemporary whisky journey.
Today it means the release of the anticipated Suntory Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022 – a limited-edition sourced from the Yamakazi, Hakashu and Chita distilleries and aged in sakura (cherry blossom) in both aroma and taste (cherry barrels proving more porous than the oak variety).
It means greater oxidation and punchy woody, floral and plum brandy notes, while on the palate there’s hints of acacia honey and morish sakura mochi.
There are two crucial differences between the 2021 and 2022 releases. The first is a distinctly lighter mouth feel. The second is that the latest runs to a fairly tight number of available bottles – which means that you might want to get cracking, and soon.
Ultimately, the newcomer presents a neat summary of Suntory’s gilded history.
After setting up a business importing western liquor into Japan in the last year of the 19th century, Shinjiro Torii launched the whisky brand Suntory in 1923.
Originally, the goal was to create a malt born from the Japanese terroir and suited to local palates.
Turns out Suntory was celebrated well beyond local borders – the brand one of first to shift the axis of the scotch world away from the originals and those who still fiercely debate whether it be spelled ‘whiskey’ (Ireland) or ‘whisky’ (Scotland).
Through the subsequent decades, Suntory’s golden reputation was further burnished with official prizes and unofficial toasts too numerous to mention – launching the renown Hibiki collection to blow out the candles on the aforementioned milestone.
Beyond simply acknowledging the birthday, Suntory sought to create a collection that exemplified its philosophy of living in harmony with both people and nature. It’s hardly surprising that the impressive blend of malt and grain whiskies from various Suntory distilleries meld into a singular sophisticated drinking experience — but there’s more to savour. With a name meaning ‘harmony’, even the 24 facets of the bottle reflect the seasons of the traditional Japanese calendar and speak to a unique level of heightened detail.
Suntory Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022 is available now; whisky.suntory.com
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