The House of Suntory, the founding House of Japanese Whisky, recently announced the release of Hibiki Blossom Harmony, a limited-edition blend featuring whiskies finished in Sakura casks.
The Sakura Blossom season in early spring has always been an occasion for celebration in Japan, with many gathering around the beautiful flowering Sakura trees that inspire the Japanese to appreciate life as it blooms. Hibiki Blossom Harmony captures this joyful spirit by blending a rare selection of whiskies finished in Sakura wood casks with diverse matured malt and grain whiskies to create this particular Hibiki.
This limited-edition bottle will be available beginning in October in select global markets including in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. The expression is bottled at 43% ABV and has a suggested retail price of $160 USD.
Hibiki is a harmonious blend of various malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries. Constantly pushing the boundaries of what Japanese Whisky can be, the House of Suntory continues to explore and experiment with various wood types. The Sakura cask was one that intrigued Fifth Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo.
“I have been mesmerised by the Sakura cask for the last five years now due to its symbolism, but also because of its distinctive, subtly floral and spicy aroma and flavour notes,” says Fukuyo. “There have been many experiments with malt and grain whisky components, and we found that there was a special alchemy between the grain whiskies and the Sakura cask. It is this special relationship – harmony – that inspired me to create this blend.”
Achieving the right balance and orchestration proved to be a great challenge from the start since the Sakura cask is one with strong character that can easily become overbearing. After a period of trial and error, Fukuyo found that the grain whiskies finished in the Sakura cask best elevated the overall balance, and the end result is a particularly distinctive expression of Hibiki. It begins with an enticing floral bouquet, followed by the signature Hibiki depth and complexity of honey, candied orange peel, jasmine and chocolatey decadence. The finish features surprising bittersweet spicy notes.
Meaning “Resonance” in Japanese, Hibiki embodies the Suntory philosophy ‘To Create Harmony with People and Nature’. As a House of Master Blenders, the House of Suntory has gone to great lengths to explore the breadth and depth of what Harmony can mean for a blend. Hibiki Blossom Harmony celebrates a particular kind of Harmony.