Some good news for those of us getting through 2021 at home with a stiff drink in hand: Hibiki is coming out with some new whiskey blends, including one made in cherry blossom barrels!
After mourning the loss of some big-name Japanese whiskeys last year (namely Kirin’s Fuji-sanroku Tarajuku Genshu 50, Nikka’s Taketsuru Pure Malt 17, 21, and 25-years, and Suntory’s Hakushu 12-year and Hibiki 17-years) it was a welcome change to hear about the arrival of some new and exciting whiskeys from Suntory as we enter 2021.
Kicking off the new whiskeys revealed by Suntory today is The Yamazaki Single Malt Limited Edition 2021, which is the first Yamazaki release to be aged in new Mizunara oak barrels. Masterfully blended with a mix of carefully selected whiskeys aged in new Mizunara oak barrels for over 12 years, the Limited Edition 2021 is said to have a smooth, velvety sweetness with bright fruit flavors and a well-balanced taste and aroma.
The next new release is related to the Suntory World Whisky Ao, which is a blend of five world whiskeys produced in collaboration with Beam Suntory, an American company that is a subsidiary of Suntory. Blended by Shinji Fukuyo, Suntory’s fifth-generation chief blender, this premium whiskey brings the unique characteristics of the world’s five largest whiskey-producing regions–Ireland, Scotland, the U.S., Canada, and Japan–together in one bottle. Said to be the world’s first blend of whiskeys from these regions owned by the one company, Suntory’s Ao has been on the market for a while, but what makes this new release so special is the fact that it will now be available in 350-milliliter (11.8-ounce) half-bottles so you can enjoy it “more easily at home.”
Another brand getting a new-bottle release is Suntory’s Chita, which will also become available in 350-milliliter bottles.
Perhaps the most exciting announcement today was the news that Hibiki, Suntory’s premium blended whiskey brand, will be getting a new variety called Blossom Harmony. Designed to be used for gift-giving, this new whiskey comes packaged in a gorgeous gift box decorated with sakura cherry blossoms.
Blossom Harmony blends Hibiki whiskey with whiskey finished in cherry-wood barrels, making it the first Hibiki to be aged in sakura wood. This rare blend, only being made in limited numbers, is said to display a gorgeous aroma reminiscent of the blossoms that grow from the cherry tree, with mellow, harmonious flavors and a lingering yet refreshing finish.
Blossom Harmony is set to go on sale around Japan from May 25 at a recommended retail price of 8,000 yen (US$77.04). The Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021 will also be available at the same price nationwide from May 25, while the 350-milliliter Chita and Ao bottles will be sold from March 23 for 1,900 yen and 2,500 yen respectively.
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