The pioneering house of Japanese whisky reveals two new limited-edition products as part of its celebratory centennial range.
LONDON, September 2023 – As 2023 marks a momentous year for the House of Suntory, the founding House of Japanese whisky reveals the long-awaited centennial release of Hibiki 21-Year-Old and a limited-edition bottle design of Hibiki Japanese Harmony. The two limited releases mark the latest centennial whisky offerings from the House of Suntory’s anniversary celebration, honouring a century since founder Shinjiro Torii established Japan’s very first malt whisky distillery in 1923.
Originally making its debut in 1989, Hibiki is considered among the most prestigious whiskies in the world and has become one of the most sought-after Japanese blended whiskies. Hibiki is a harmonious blend of various malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries. The limited-edition Hibiki 21-Year-Old is a delicate marriage of malt and grain whiskies that are meticulously blended to create an orchestra of flavours and aromas. For this special centennial edition, rare Mizunara oak is placed at the forefront, profoundly influencing the blend whilst still maintaining Hibiki’s character and essence.
“For the limited-edition Hibiki 21-Year–Old, our team took on the challenge of crafting a new blend to celebrate our centennial,” says Chief Blender of Suntory Shinji Fukuyo. “With meticulous precision, we managed to harness the challenging-yet-rewarding characteristics of Japanese Mizunara oak to accentuate the unique flavour profile for which our Hibiki whiskies are known. This special whisky showcases our continued dedication to craftsmanship at the House of Suntory.”
The design of the birthday label for the Hibiki 21-Year-Old bottle features a gradual transition of colours that evoke the sunrise in Japan. In Japanese culture, the sun holds deep meaning, as it nurtures the surrounding nature and provides essential energy. It stands as a reminder to appreciate life and embrace the changes that come with each passing moment. Tender gold in colour, this extraordinary whisky embodies the spirit of “Wa,” or oneness, with enticing aromas. It offers refined and elegant notes of kumquat and jasmine with Japanese incense. The palate is subtly sweet and floral combined with spiced sandalwood and agarwood. The result is a long and deep finish with undertones of spiced Mizunara wood. Hibiki 21-Year-Old is bottled at 43 percent ABV. Available from select retailers from October including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and The Whisky Shop at a suggested retail price of £5,200 and 700ml.
The House of Suntory’s centennial Hibiki Japanese Harmony bottle design brings the art of “Monozukuri” craftsmanship to life—it’s this same relentless pursuit for quality, ingenuity, and expressiveness that has inspired the design of each of the house’s centennial limited editions. The Hibiki Japanese Harmony centennial edition packaging features motifs of snow, moon and flowers representing Japan’s changing seasons. The ‘Kakehashi’ symbolizes the emotional connection of the Japanese people to their country’s unique seasonality and its significance in everyday life, fostering an appreciation for time that deeply resonates and inspires Hibiki. Amber in colour, this luminous and delicate whisky presents notes of rose, lychee, a hint of rosemary, mature woodiness and sandalwood on the nose. On the palate, it offers aromas of honey-like sweetness, candied orange peel and white chocolate. The finish is both subtle and tender with a hint of Mizunara. Hibiki Japanese Harmony is bottled at 43 percent ABV. Available from select retailers from October including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, and The Whisky Shop at a suggested retail price of £210 and 700ml.
Earlier this year, the House of Suntory unveiled its centennial edition Yamazaki 18-Year-Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18-Year-Old Peated Malt whiskies. Limited 100th anniversary labels of the flagship Yamazaki 12-Year-Old and Hakushu 12-Year-Old were also released for the centennial.
Independent distiller, Loch Lomond Whiskies, is adding to its impressive portfolio of whiskies with the launch of Steam & Fire.
A remarkable single malt whisky, Steam & Fire is finished in heavily charred American Oak, flamed at Loch Lomond Whiskies’ own traditional cooperage.
It is an entirely new concept for the distiller and has been crafted to showcase its extensive capabilities in distillation and maturation.
Steam & Fire takes its inspiration from the extraordinary distillery – a place where alchemy and engineering meet time-honoured craftsmanship to create an unusual whisky destination which is unlike anything else seen in the industry.
Located near the banks of the iconic Loch Lomond, the distillery is home to innovative feats of engineering, including Scotland’s only set of Straight Neck Pot Stills. As the only distiller in Scotland to use these stills, Master Blender Michael Henry can influence flavour from fermentation, through distillation, as well as during maturation.
It is also one only four in Scotland to house its own cooperage. A vibrant place where a team of experienced coopers, manage, repair and char barrels, it is the final stage in the whisky making process before casks are laid to rest for maturation.
Steam & Fire begins its journey being distilled in a combination of Straight Neck and traditional Swan Neck Pot Stills before maturing in first fill Bourbon barrels and refill American Oak casks. This exceptional single malt is then finished in heavily charred American Oak Cask for 10 months.
The heavily charred American oak barrels have a distinctive rich demerara sugar influence on the whisky, creating a rich flavour profile characterised by notes of orange, pear and melted brown sugar with a dark chocolate, and a soft smoke finish.
The release of Steam & Fire follows Loch Lomond Distillery’s success at the globally renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2023, winning the title of ‘most awarded distillery’.
Michael Henry, Master Blender at Loch Lomond Whiskies, said: “Fire is a powerful element which has a distinctive impact on the flavour whisky takes from the oak. It is key in breaking down the surface of the oak releasing the flavours locked within, with the temperature of the flame and length of charring time critical in determining the flavours imparted.
“At Loch Lomond Whiskies, we are driven to experiment with flavour, creating unique single malts that push the boundaries of what is possible.
“Steam & Fire is unlike anything we have created at our distillery before, and is a representation of this quest to create whisky outside of the ordinary, bringing together our impressive capabilities in distillation and maturation.”
The launch of Steam & Fire includes a collaboration with renowned open-fire chef Genevieve Taylor, who partnered with the distiller for its Remarkable Makers campaign, which sees Loch Lomond Whiskies partner with like-minded creators and artisan craftspeople to lift the lid on the complex whisky making process.
An accomplished chef, she is the author of 12 cookery books and is fascinated by the science of cooking over fire. Genevieve is inspired by her lifelong love of nature and sustainability, with her recipes specifically created based on the seasonality and locality of ingredients.
She said: “Fire as a method for cooking is a time-honoured craft, much like whisky making, which has survived for generations.
“It is such strong primal element and in many ways it can be unpredictable. Like a master blender, you have to very carefully control all of the variables to curate the final flavour you want.
“Too much wood creates a very distinctive smoky flavour, which can distract from delicate dishes, whereas pure charcoal allows the subtleties of ingredients to come to the fore. The slightest change in this balance has a profound impact on the final recipe.”
Genevieve Taylor’s passion for fire cooking is driven by a curiosity to explore the extraordinary. She continued:
“Loch Lomond Whiskies and I share a curious spirit, and an eternal desire to seek out new possibilities in our crafts. The traditional domestic kitchen can be a wonderful place, but it can also be restricting to creativity and exploration.
“Fire cooking opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and allows me to experiment with flavour and techniques which are outside of the ordinary.”
Steam & Fire is out now and retails for £45.
It can be purchased at specialist retailers including Master of Malt, as well as directly from www.lochlomondwhiskies.co.uk
London, 10th July 2023 – Following three successful years, The House of Suntory has announced its prestigious DOJO advocacy programme will this year expand to engage 100 bartenders in three leading hospitality hubs in the UK. In the brand’s centenary year, the programme will host masterclasses in Manchester and Edinburgh, in addition to London, as part of its mission to deepen bartenders’ understanding of the philosophies behind the art of Japanese bartending.
The expansion of the programme this year will, for the first time, enable bartenders in three of the UK’s leading hospitality hubs to learn about Japanese bartending and gain insights directly from Japanese Craft Masters and hospitality industry leaders, which can be applied to strengthen any hospitality career.
Devised as an immersive experience for bartenders, this year’s programme will be led by The House of Suntory UK Brand Ambassador Raffaele Di Monaco alongside authentic Japanese Masters of Craft and will consist of two ‘tours’ in July and September. Each tour will feature two “Monozukuri Masterclasses”, with 25 bartenders in each city – Monozukuri being one of the three pillars of The House of Suntory, referring to the traditional Japanese principles of craftsmanship. To help deepen understanding of the brand’s portfolio, each masterclass tour will focus on two of its four core brands; the first tour on Roku gin and Haku vodka, followed by Toki and Hibiki whiskies in the second.
Inspired by the concept of Kaizen – “continual improvement” – the programme includes a ‘Kaizen Challenge’ to encourage participants to hone their newfound skills by applying them to a classic cocktail and rewards best practice with the chance to win a place at the DOJO Finale in November. This final stage will see the four bartenders from each city present their Kaizen Classic to judges James Bowker, The House of Suntory’s Global Advocacy Manager, and famed Bar Master Hidetsugu Ueno of Bar High Five in Tokyo, for the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan in Spring 2024.
With community a key part of the DOJO programme, in October, 12 DOJO Finalists will also be invited to two community events to immerse them in Japanese culture with sessions on Japanese knife sharpening and a Kanpai Sake Brewery tour. As part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to fostering the bartending community, there will also be several Japanese inspired DOJO mini events in London locations throughout the year.
Raffaele di Monaco, UK Brand Ambassador for the House of Suntory, said: “The Japanese approach to bartending is unlike anything else. From the laser focus on detail, to embracing omotenashi (to wholeheartedly look after guests) and monozukuri (craftsmanship and striving towards perfection), the collective approach elevates bartending to an artform. Through the DOJO programme, we hope to bring these principles to the fore, and help bartenders enhance their repertoires as well as being able to offer unparalleled drink and hospitality experiences for their customers.”
THE DOJO PROGRAMME – MONOZUKURI MASTERCLASS TOURS
Each DOJO Masterclass is carefully curated around four Japanese crafts. From sushi making and Ikebana, to Dashi blending and Chadō – also known as Japanese Tea Ceremony – the sessions will be hosted by a specialist Japanese Master, providing bartenders with a rich understanding of Japanese artistry first hand.
Tour 1 – July 2023
Tour 2 – September 2023
For more information on DOJO, please visit www.suntorydojo.com
Celebrating the ultimate expression of Scotland’s whisky heritage captured through a Japanese lens
· ARDRAY joins Edrington UK’s portfolio of Scotch Whiskies
5th June, London: Beam Suntory, world leader in premium spirits and producer of some of the foremost whiskies, has unveiled its latest creation ARDRAY® – an exquisite new interpretation of blended Scotch whisky. Balancing Scotland’s unique terroir and long-standing craft tradition with the precision and artistry of Suntory’s award-winning Japanese blenders, ARDRAY promises a fresh perspective on the excellence of blended Scotch and is set to boost the category. The new product joins Edrington UK’s portfolio of Scotch whiskies.
Beam Suntory’s Chief Blender for Scotch, Calum Fraser in partnership with Suntory’s blending team, tested nearly 200 different whisky combinations before arriving at the final harmony of flavours that make up ARDRAY. The wonderfully balanced blended recipe interweaves some of Scotland’s finest, most complex signature malts and grain whiskies together to an optimal precise ratio. The result is a whisky designed to challenge preconceptions, treating both malt and grain whiskies as equals to create a whisky that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
With inspiration from historic blend styles and the vision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii, ARDRAY celebrates the quest to reimagine the historic excellence of blended scotch and encourage a greater appreciation for the art of blending. A hundred years ago, inspired by traditional Scottish whisky, Torii-San envisioned a Japanese approach to create a subtle, refined, yet complex whisky that would suit the delicate palate of the Japanese. With this remarkable blend we honour Torii’s quest, from a reinterpretation of Scotch for the Japanese palate to ARDRAY: a new, elegant interpretation, designed to celebrate the excellence of blended Scotch Whisky,
Built on the premise that blended whisky is an art form that deserves both respect and reappraisal, each batch is precisely engineered to achieve the same harmony between malt and grain whiskies each time. By retaining a proportion of each batch, the team blend this with the next batch and harmonise the flavour of the whisky across the batches.
Calum Fraser, Chief Blender for Scotch, comments: “In creating ARDRAY we have combined an exceptional selection of the very best Scotch whisky has to offer with the inspiring talent of Suntory’s blending team to create something new, refreshing and exciting. The time, care and attention to detail taken to source both malt and grain whiskies from some of Scotland’s most noted distilleries has allowed us to explore hundreds of blends of Scotch malt and grain whiskies to achieve ARDRAY’s optimum balance of multi-layered flavours. Driven by the desire to ensure the true beauty of this blend is greater than the sum of its parts. ARDRAY promises a rich and complex taste, with a distinctive harmony of flavours: a mild, gently floral, and citrusy fruitiness, with a vanilla custard creaminess and a rich, silky mouthfeel and lengthy aftertaste that is unmatched.“
Drawing from just a handful of the finest Scotch distilleries from Beam Suntory, world leader in premium spirits and producer of renowned whiskies including Bowmore, Laphroaig, Yamazaki, and Hibiki and our partners at Edrington, (owners of The Macallan, The Glenrothes and Highland Park), this blended Scotch whisky that celebrates the role of terroir and the production traditions of Scotland’s distilleries which define each of their unique spirit character.
Presented in a bespoke bottle each marked with the year of release, the striking artwork of artist Lia Melia adorns each one, capturing Scotland’s raw beauty and terroir. Its richly textured rippling pattern representing malt and grain highlighting two fundamental ingredients in Scotch whisky. The unique feel of the glass bottle takes after the free-flowing water of Scotland’s streams and rivers and the patterns made by the wind blowing across barley fields.
ARDRAY is now available at The Whisky Shop, The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt with an RRP of £60.
For more information, visit the Ardray website at: Ardray.com
London – 22 May 2022, Edrington UK, the UK’s number one whisky and cognac supplier, will launch a podcast series – The Stillhouse Podcast – hosted by UK spirits expert, Becky Paskin. Featuring guest appearances from key figures at the heart of the drinks and hospitality industry, listeners can expect engaging conversations centred around the value and opportunities of the dark spirits category.
Grounded in insight from Edrington UK’s 2025 Category Vision, the podcast will not only shine a light on the category but also aim to inspire growth through conversations around consumers, serves and occasions.
The Stillhouse Podcast will initially feature nine episodes based on the nine growth drivers identified in Edrington UK’s Category Vision. Each episode provides a forum for education and conversation around growing this category through more people, more often and for more. Whether this is through attracting new consumers, inspiring discovery and experimentation, or extending repertoires, each episode will unearth how and why key occasions and moments act as a driver of opportunity for dark spirits. The podcast will also provide digestible advice and tips from those at the coalface, to inspire businesses across the on- and off-trade.
The first two episodes in the series will be available from 22nd May and will welcome Jamie Campbell (Brugal UK Brand Ambassador) and Lauren Anderson – Smedley (Drinks Experience Trainer and Host from Waitrose & Partners), as well as Anna Sebastian (Hospitality Consultant) and David Miles (Senior Whisky Ambassador, Edrington UK). Becky will bring the experts together to discuss ‘On My Terms’, how to empower consumers to drink dark spirits however they like it, encouraging exploration and experimentation. Whereas ‘Me Moment’ is an episode all about how dark spirits can tap into consumer desires for smaller, more regular moments of indulgence.
Fiona Alder, Head of Portfolio and Planning at Edrington UK, says:
“We’re excited to be launching The Stillhouse Podcast in partnership with Becky Paskin, who has a wealth of category knowledge and is passionate about making dark spirits accessible to all. At Edrington UK, we continue to invest heavily in understanding consumers, shoppers, and customers. Our aim is to support businesses across the on and off-trade to unlock the dark spirits category by showcasing the opportunities for incremental category value. As leaders in the dark spirit category, we wanted to be the ones to ignite and be at the centre of the dark spirit conversation; launching our Category Vision as a podcast series is the perfect format for this.”
Dark spirit expert and host of The Stillhouse Podcast, Becky Paskin says:
“Over recent years, we have seen consumers rapidly adapt to discover varied and new ways to enjoy dark spirits in and out-of-home and it’s time to take a deep dive into what’s driving this and how we can drive this further value.
“I’m delighted that Edrington UK asked me to host The Stillhouse Podcast – a platform, or home as you will, to shine a light on the category and create a welcoming space for real conversations with industry leaders.”
Insights shared in the podcast will be led by Edrington UK’s newly developed Category Vision – a framework grounded in insight from each consumption moment. It brings together the results from a bespoke ‘usage and attitudes’ consumer survey, combined with extensive research and insights from the UK’s leading dark spirits experts.
The first episode of The Stillhouse Podcast will be available to download from Spotify and Itunes and will go live on 22nd May. Follow @thestillhousepodcast to keep up to date with The Stillhouse Podcast and its upcoming episodes.