Created in 1989 by Suntory’s second chief blender Koichi Inatomi, Hibiki has become one of the most prestigious blends in the world. The 24-facet bottle was a key feature of Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation. In 2016, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Japan’s porcelain indust…More info
Created in 1989 by Suntory’s second chief blender Koichi Inatomi, Hibiki has become one of the most prestigious blends in the world. The 24-facet bottle was a key feature of Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation. In 2016, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Japan’s porcelain industry, Suntory released two special editions of its iconic blend. One is in Arita porcelain and the other in Kutani porcelain. This style was created in the Edo period, in 1656, by the potter Goto Seijiro, who was trained in Arita. It is characterized by its bright colours (green, yellow, blue, purple and red) applied to patterns with thick outlines on a white background. The patterns here depict peonies, a symbol of joy and good fortune, and butterflies, a symbol of longevity. The blend, which was created by Suntory’s master blender Seiichi Koshimizu, is composed of malt and grain whiskies from the group’s distilleries (Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita) matured in various types of cask, including bourbon, sherry and Mizunara, Japan’s famous oak. At 35 years, it is the brand’s oldest expression. Each edition is limited to 150 handmade decanters presented in a wooden box.
Suntory was founded by Shinjirō Torii, who, after learning about foreign alcohols during an apprenticeship with a pharmacist, decided to open a wine cellar named Torii Shoten in 1899. He first experienced success as a wine merchant with his flagship product Akadama Port Wine, launched in 1907. His business took the name Kotobukiya in 1921, two years before the construction of Japan’s first distillery, Yamazaki (1923), halfway between Kyoto and Osaka. Japan’s first real whisky was released in 1929 under the name Shirofuda (“white label”), followed in 1937 by the famous Kakubin. The group’s name was changed to Suntory in 1963. In the 1970s, under the direction of Shinjirō Torii’s son Keizo Saiji, two new distilleries were built, the Chita grain distillery in 1972 and Hakushu in 1973, 50 years after Yamazaki was first founded. In 1984, the first widely available Japanese single malt was released, Yamazaki 12 Year Old. 1989 saw the launch of another iconic whisky, the blend Hibiki. After buying Morrison Bowmore in 1994 and Beam in 2014, Suntory (now Beam Suntory) became one of the world’s largest whisky groups, with distilleries in Japan, America and Scotland, including Glen Garioch, Laphroaig and Bowmore.
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