Hibiki 17 Year Old was created to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Suntory in 1989 by Master Blender Keizo Saji and Chief Blender Koichi Inatomi. Keizo Saji, the son and successor of founder Shinjiro Torii, came up with the idea in 1987. Presented in its legendary 24-facet bottle—representing the 2…More info
Hibiki 17 Year Old was created to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Suntory in 1989 by Master Blender Keizo Saji and Chief Blender Koichi Inatomi. Keizo Saji, the son and successor of founder Shinjiro Torii, came up with the idea in 1987. Presented in its legendary 24-facet bottle—representing the 24 seasons in the Japanese calendar—Hibiki 17 year old is a blend of whiskies produced at the group’s three distilleries, Yamazaki and Hakushu for the malt whiskies and Chita for the grain whiskies. The bottle was made famous by Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation, in which Bill Murray’s character is working in Japan to promote Hibiki 17 Year Old. A 12 year old, 21 year old and various other editions without age statements also exist. Suntory stopped producing the 17 year old in 2018 due to a lack of sufficient stocks to satisfy demand.
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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