Suntory (Blended)

Posted 01 November 2017

Blended whisky Hibiki was introduced by Suntory in 1989. The name in Japanese means ‘resonance’ or echo’, and the bottling was brought in to rationalise Suntory’s blended whisky offering from a diverse range of expressions into what would eventually become a single line under the Hibiki brand. Hibiki bottles are immediately recognisable, coming in 24 sided decanters that are designed to represent the 24 seasons of the traditional Japanese calendar. They also have 12 sided heavy glass stoppers signifying the dozen periods of change within that same calendar.


Posted 13 March 2018

Whilst the biggest concern for any dedicated whisky enthusiast should always be the quality of the liquid itself, bottle design also has a part to play. It can reflect the overall brand of the producer and distillery, can help a bottle stand out on a crowded bar shelf, and in some cases even influence the way you experience a whisky. Whilst many new and recent Japanese whiskies have been produced in what you’d commonly describe simply as a bottle, back in the 1970s and 80s producers created a huge array of more unusual glassware and decanters. Often created to mark special occasions, distillery birthdays, golf tournaments and industry conferences – there’s a veritable treasure trove of older peculiar containers – and some are much more visually attractive than others.


Posted 01 February 2018

Toki doesn’t literally translate from Japanese to English as ‘time’ (it’s more about the precise moment when things happen), but it’s nevertheless a similar concept that Suntory have taken in the naming of this blended whisky. Released for the US market in 2016, and somewhat plugging the gap left by the discontinuation of the Hibiki 12 year old, Toki is a slightly different Japanese blended whisky – both in its components, and how Suntory are suggesting it be served.


Posted 12 June 2018

Whilst the discontinuation of Suntory’s Hakushu 12 year old was met with resigned sighs worldwide, I’m not sure that most folks felt the same way about Hibiki 17 year old. For several years now you’d rarely see Hibiki 17 out in the wild (and if you did, your eyes would pop out of your head at the price tag) – though I’m sure there are plenty of closed examples within the growing number of liquid museums worldwide. Allocations have been so limited (and buyers so quick) that for all intents and purposes, outside of auction houses, this bottling might as well have been discontinued already. So, when the official announce came last month, I exhibited not an ounce of surprise.


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