Hibiki Japanese whisky is a premium blended whisky that Suntory has produced in Osaka, Japan, since 1989.
The Hibiki brand was created to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of Suntory’s Yamazaki distillery, and the name Hibiki means “echo” or “resonance” in Japanese.
But what else is there to discover about the whisky? Hibiki has come a long way since its humble beginnings and is not considered an exclusive whiskey on the market. Even considering the brand’s young age, there’s good reason Hibiki has become so highly regarded.
Hibiki Whiskey History
Hibiki Japanese Whiskey is a brand owned by Beam Suntory (Jim Beam is another Beam Suntory Brand). It was first launched in 1989 to celebrate 90 years of Suntory Whisky and has since become one of the most popular whiskies in Japan.
In 1987, Master Blender Keizo Saji set out to create a blended whisky that would showcase the sophistication of Suntory’s techniques.
To find the perfect blend, Chief Blender Koichi Inatomi sampled and tasted aged malt whiskies from one million casks. After careful consideration, Saji and Inatomi selected thirty distinctive malt and grain whiskies.
The name “Hibiki” means “echo” or “resonance” in Japanese, and it is said to represent the harmonious relationship between man and nature.
The core range consists of three expressions: Hibiki Harmony, Hibiki 17-Year-Old, and Hibiki 21-Year-Old. All three are made with a blend of malt and grain whiskies, and each expression is aged in a different type of cask (Japanese oak, sherry, and Mizunara oak respectively).
Hibiki has received numerous awards over the years, including a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a Gold medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
It is also one of the few whiskies to be given the coveted 5-star rating by whisky critic Jim Murray.
Hibiki Japanese Whiskey Price
Hibiki whiskey is one of the most prestigious and revered spirits in the world. The Hibiki 17-Year-Old variant has won numerous awards, including “World’s Best Blended Whiskey” at the World Whiskies Awards.
Considering its accolades, it is no surprise that Hibiki commands a high price tag. A bottle of Hibiki 17-Year-Old whiskey can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.
However, a quick Google search will bring up a number of retailers selling Hibiki Whiskey, including expressions with an MSRP under $100.
The Hibiki Range
Hibiki is available in three different varieties: Hibiki 12, Hibiki 17, and Hibiki 21. Each variety has a different flavor profile, and the price point also varies depending on the age of the whiskey.
The Hibiki 12 is the entry-level bottling, and it is aged for 12 years. The flavor profile is light and fruity, with notes of citrus and honey. The Hibiki 17 is aged for 17 years, and it has a richer flavor that is well-balanced between sweetness and oakiness.
Finally, the Hibiki 21 is the flagship bottling, and it is aged for 21 years. The flavor profile is very complex, with hints of dark fruits, vanilla, and spices. all three varieties are enjoyable to drink, and they offer something for everyone’s taste and budget.
Hibiki Japanese Whiskey Harmony
Hibiki Japanese whiskey is amber in color, with a nose that reveals lychee, and a hint of rosemary.
The palate is honey-sweet, with candied orange peel and white chocolate flavors, leading to a subtle, tender long finish that includes a Mizunara (Japanese oak) note.
The blended whiskey is of an undisclosed mash bill of 10 different malt and grain whiskies aged in 5 different types of oak for an undisclosed amount of time and bottled at 43% ABV in 750mL bottles for around $75.
Hibiki 17 Year Old is a blend of several different types of whiskey, all of which are aged for at least seventeen years. It is 43.0% alcohol by volume and comes in a 700 ml size.
After a lengthy aging process, the final product has a deep amber color and a complex nose that features peach, apricot, melon, rose, lily, and lemon leaf.
The palate is equally impressive, with toffee, black cherry, vanilla, and Mizunara (Japanese oak) all coming together to create a unique flavor profile. The finish is sweet and fruity, with a lychee aftertaste.
The Hibiki 21 is a blend of more than 30 different types of malt and grain whiskies, all of which are aged for a minimum of 21 years. The result is a complex and perfectly balanced whisky with notes of honey, jasmine, orange peel, and sandalwood.
Aged for 21 years in a combination of Mizunara (Japanese oak) and American white oak barrels. The tasting notes describe Hibiki 21 as a rich and complex spirit with a bronze amber color.
On the nose, Hibiki 21-Year-Old has cooked fruit, blackberry, ripe banana, and caramel notes. On the palate, there are sandalwood, honeycomb, dried apricot, and Mizunara flavors. The finish is long and rich, with an incense aroma.
Hibiki Japanese Cocktails
There are many ways to enjoy Hibiki Japanese Whisky, but because of its quality and price, it is best enjoyed neat or over ice. Hibiki has a delicate and complex flavor that makes it a versatile choice for any whiskey-based cocktail.
However, the flavors are best showcased when drunk with few outside factors. This allows you to fully appreciate the nuances of the whisky and enjoy its smooth, well-rounded flavor.
That being said, if neat is not an option, an old-fashioned is an excellent choice for a Hibiki Whiskey cocktail.
The drink calls for just three ingredients: whiskey, sugar, and bitters. The key to making a perfect old-fashioned is in the preparation.
First, a sugar cube is placed in the bottom of a glass and soaked with bitters. Then, whiskey is added and muddled until the sugar is dissolved. Finally, ice can be added to fill the glass. The result is a smooth and well-balanced drink that will complement the best of Hibiki’s flavors.
Hibiki Japanese Distillery
Founded in Osaka in 1887, the House of Suntory is Japan’s first whiskey distillery. from the earliest days, founder shinjiro torii dreamed of creating exceptional Japanese whiskies that would suit the delicate palate of the discerning samurai- and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Today, under the auspices of chief blender ryohei kawasaki, we continue to produce superlative whiskies at our hibiki japanese harmony distillery.
It is a state-of-the-art facility built on the site of shinjiro torii’s original Osaka distillery, Hibiki Japanese harmony draws water from underground springs beneath mount daisen and malts imported from Scotland.
It is there that artisans skillfully blend rare malt and grain whiskies to create Hibiki Harmony.
As the world’s third-largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory is committed to sustainable practices throughout its supply chain. From field to glass, the company strives to operate in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
According to Suntory’s sustainability data report, The Suntory Group recognizes the importance of water sustainability on a global scale and is committed to promoting initiatives that will help conserve this precious resource.
In addition to these efforts, the company is also working to address the urgent issue of climate change.
The goal is to deliver net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a variety of means, including energy conservation activities and the use of renewable energy sources.
These efforts will help to create a more sustainable future for both people and the planet.
Hibiki Japanese whisky is now produced with 30% less water than in previous years. In addition, the distillation process for Hibiki has been modified to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.
These achievements are just a few examples of Beam Suntory’s commitment to sustainability.
Going forward, the company plans to continue its efforts to reduce its environmental impact, with the goal of becoming a truly sustainable business.
Hibiki Japanese Whiskey Final Thoughts
While it may be young compared to some of its counterparts, Hibiki has come a long way and boasts an impressive resume – including multiple awards from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
Even considering the brand’s young age, there’s good reason Hibiki has become so highly regarded on the global stage. If you’re looking for a delicious and exclusive whiskey experience, look no further.