Since its inception in 1989, Hibiki has been embraced as the paragon of Japanese Whisky. It is not only Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky but also among the most prestigious and honoured whiskies in the world. In this issue, Exquisite Taste digs deeper to understand why.
by Rizky Adityo
If you ask anyone who has a profound love of whisky about Hibiki Suntory Whisky, their faces most likely will light up; the brand is adored around the world. First launched in 1989 as a way to celebrate House of Suntory’s 90th anniversary, Hibiki Suntory Whisky is the epitome of premium whisky in the spirits world.
To know more about Hibiki, you need to understand a little bit about the House of Suntory. Founded over a century ago, the House of Suntory was built on one man’s dream, Shinjiro Torii. Dubbed the founding father of Japanese whisky, he built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki. Located in the outskirts of Kyoto, Torii dreamt of creating an authentic Japanese whisky, choosing a terrain and climate completely different to that of Scotland, thereby cultivating unique conditions for maturation.
Hibiki was brought to life by the artisanship of blenders at the House of Suntory Whisky, led by Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo. The Master Blender tastes over 100 malt whisky samples, having final say on the subtle, refined and complex flavours of Suntory whisky. “To become a blender at Suntory, one needs to be able to communicate with whiskies that cannot speak.” The words of founder Sinjiro Torii live in all Suntory blenders’ minds. The art of blending is a continuous collaboration of blenders of the past and the future.
Meaning resonance in Japanese, Hibiki embodies the Suntory philosophy to live in harmony with nature and people. As the founding house of Japanese whisky and a house of master blenders, the House of Suntory has gone to great lengths to explore the breadth and depth of what harmony can mean for a blend. Hibiki was born as the result of sampling and tasting aged malt whiskies from one million casks at Suntory. The current incarnations are made from a blend of more than 30 individual malts and mellow grain whiskies, and the final blend is topped off with a whisky aged for more than 30 years. This concludes a process that sees the master blender taste over 300 malt whisky samples a day. From its inception to its current forms, Hibiki’s craft and method reflects its core ideologies of harmony and resonance with a caring and precise vision.
Rooted in the Japanese sense of beauty, the Hibiki bottle features the seasons of Japan as jewel-like facets, with an Echizen Washi paper label crafted by Eriko Horiki and calligraphy by Tansetsu Ogino. Each element of the painstakingly handcrafted label reflects Japanese aesthetics. The neck of the bottle is encircled by a band of deep purple – Japan’s noblest colour. The Hibiki limited editions always feature the best of Japanese culture and craftsmanship, whether it be the Aritayaki, Kutaniyaki or seasonal motifs.
Exquisite Taste Volume 39
Hibiki Suntory Whisky