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.
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
From the birthplace of Japanese Whisky, Yamazaki® 55 – now available in select global markets – honours the legacy of three generations of Master Blenders and celebrates its harmony with nature with a donation for every newly released bottle to The White Oak Initiative.
LONDON, UK (9th September 2021) – In the much anticipated first-ever global release of the Yamazaki® 55, the House of Suntory pays tribute to the passage of time and the legacy of the founding family of Japanese whisky. Bottled in 2020, Yamazaki 55 – the House of Suntory’s oldest release in its history – celebrates the Japanese “Showa” era of the 1960s that represented a major period of change for the House of Suntory.
Extremely limited quantities of Yamazaki 55, of which 100 bottles were initially released in Japan in 2020, will reach select global markets including the United Kingdom, United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan later this month. Yamazaki 55 will be available to purchase in Harrods, Claridge’s and The Arts Club.
To honour its ongoing commitment to give back to society, Beam Suntory, will donate $5,000 USD for every bottle released in this year’s 100-bottle collection, totalling $500,000 USD, to The White Oak Initiative, a group committed to the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak forests.
Yamazaki 55 is a blend of precious single malts featuring components distilled in 1960 under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii and then aged in Mizunara casks; and in 1964 under Suntory’s Second Master Blender Keizo Saji and then aged in White Oak casks. Suntory’s Fifth-Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo worked closely with Third-Generation Master Blender Shingo Torii in deploying their signature art of blending to properly reveal the exceptional depth, complexity and wisdom that is Yamazaki 55. The resulting expression features a deep amber colour; robust aroma redolent of sandal wood and well-ripened fruit; sweet, slightly bitter and woody palate; and slightly bitter yet sweet and rich finish.
“Throughout the process of blending Yamazaki 55, I used as inspiration the passage of time and ‘Wabi-sabi’ – the Japanese belief that imperfections can help to ultimately contribute to perfection,” said Fukuyo. “While I often view other extra aged whiskies as art, I consider Yamazaki 55 to be more like a Buddhist statue: calm and mysterious, requiring time to truly enjoy the inner beauty.”
Yamazaki 55 is presented in a crystal bottle with the word “Yamazaki” carefully engraved in calligraphy using the technique of sandblasting and featuring real gold dust and lacquer on the age marking. The bottle’s opening is wrapped in handmade Echizen washi paper and bound with a Kyo-kumihimo plaited cord, a traditional craft from Kyoto. Each bottle is delivered in a bespoke box made from native Japanese Mizunara wood and coated with Suruga lacquer.
Tasting Notes – Yamazaki 55, 46% ABV
Color: Deep amber distinctive of Mizunara casks.
Nose: A robust aroma redolent of sandal wood. A sweet, mature bouquet like well-ripened fruit.
Palate: A soft, smooth first sip that blossoms in the mouth with flavor. A mixture of sweet and slightly bitter, followed by a woody note from the Mizunara cask.
Finish: Slightly bitter, a fragrance like scented wood and a hint of smokiness. A sweet, rich, lingering finish.
Yamazaki 55 will be available in extremely limited quantities starting this month at a suggested retail price of $60,000 USD excluding VAT and duties. Yamazaki 55 will be available to purchase in Harrods, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Master of Malt.
Yamazaki 55 will also be available in The Arts Club, Annabel’s and Claridge’s. This limited-edition expression joins Yamazaki’s portfolio of award-winning whiskies including Yamazaki® 12, Yamazaki 18® and Yamazaki 25®.
From Yamazaki. Birthplace of Japanese whisky.
The Yamazaki Distillery is Japan’s first and oldest malt whisky distillery, built starting in 1923 by Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii. Yamazaki is not only the soul place of Suntory Whisky. It is the birthplace of Japanese Whisky.
Inspired by traditional Scottish whisky, it is said that Torii selected the land of Yamazaki at the foot of Mt. Tennozan, for its high-quality water source and natural environment, both of which are ideal for whisky making. Nestled proudly on the periphery of Kyoto, the area around Yamazaki Distillery has been long referred to as “Minaseno” famous for its exquisite natural water, even mentioned in the Man’yoshu, the ancient anthology of Japanese poetry. Home to Sen no Rikyu, Master of “The Way of Tea” and his renowned “Rikyu no Mizu” (water of the imperial villa), the waters of Yamazaki are selected by the Ministry of Environment as one of Japan’s one hundred best natural mineral waters.
Yamazaki lies in a misty valley between Mt.Tennozan and Mt. Otokoyama, where the Katsura, Uji and Kizu rivers converge. Blessed with Japan’s rich four seasons, the diversity of this region’s temperature and humidity align to create the perfect conditions for the making of whisky.
ABOUT SUNTORY WHISKY
Since 1923, Suntory has been renowned as the pioneer of Japanese whisky for its House of Master Blenders and for their Art of Blending. Shinjiro Torii built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki, and the Suntory legacy continued with Torii’s son, Keizo Saji, Suntory’s second master blender who continued to establish distilleries including the Hakushu distillery. As the generations of Suntory’s master blenders carry on, Suntory Whisky remains committed to heritage and innovation. The House of Suntory Whisky has been named four-time Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge in London, UK (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014).
Suntory Whiskies are subtle, refined and complex. The portfolio includes two single malt whiskies: Yamazaki—Japan’s N°1 Single Malt, multi-layered and profound, Hakushu—verdant, fresh, and delicately smoky; and two blends: the noble blend, Hibiki—Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky and Suntory Whisky Toki.
whisky.suntory.com #SuntoryWhisky @SuntoryWhisky
Among Best in Category Trophy, Hibiki® 21 Wins Double Gold, Yamazaki® and Hakushu® Score Several Gold Awards in Prestigious Global Tasting Event
London, 14 July 2021: – The House of Suntory, the founding house and pioneer of Japanese Whisky, received its latest wave of industry accolades from this year’s 2021 International Spirits Challenge across its core portfolio of premium whiskies, including a category win for Japanese Whisky Distiller of the Year, and a Double Gold win for Hibiki® 21 – one of only 11 Double Golds awarded in the entire competition.
Other Gold wins for the House of Suntory went to Hibiki, Yamazaki® and Hakushu® expressions. The House of Suntory received 21 medals in total across the brands, including 13 Gold medals. Held in London in June, the International Spirits Challenge recognises outstanding quality, excellence and achievement in spirits around the world.
“We are honored to continue receiving this level of outstanding recognition year over year by one of the most prestigious industry competitions in the world,” says Jon Potter, Managing Director for the House of Suntory at Beam Suntory. “These awards are a testament to our company’s commitment to quality, precision and excellence. We congratulate our Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo, and his diligent team across our distilleries who exhibit the highest level of skill and passion for their craft. This hard-working group commit themselves daily to producing nothing but the best spirits.”
The full list of House of Suntory competition results:
Hibiki 21 Year Old
Hibiki Blender’s Choice
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Master’s Select
Hibiki 30 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 12 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 25 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt Mizunara 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Single Malt Spanish Oak 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Single Malt Bordeaux Wine Cask 2020 Edition
Hakushu Single Malt 12 Year Old
Hakushu Single Malt 18 Year Old
Hakushu Single Malt 25 Year Old
Suntory Whisky Chita
Suntory World Whisky AO
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt 2021 Edition
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Puncheon 2020 Edition
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt 2020 Edition
ABOUT THE HOUSE OF SUNTORY
Since 1923, Suntory has been renowned as the pioneer of Japanese whisky for its House of Master Blenders and for their Art of Blending. The founding father of Japanese whisky Shinjiro Torii, built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki, and the Suntory legacy continued with Torii’s son, Keizo Saji, Suntory’s second master blender who continued to establish distilleries including the Hakushu distillery. As the generations of Suntory’s master blenders carry on, Suntory Whisky remains committed to heritage and innovation. The House of Suntory Whisky has been named four-time Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge in London, UK (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014).
whisky.suntory.com @suntorywhisky #suntorywhisky
London, 2nd July 2021 – House of Suntory has announced the return of its advocacy programme which will educate bartenders on their premium portfolio of craft spirits: Roku Gin, Haku Vodka, Toki Whisky, and Hibiki Whisky.
DOJO, which translates as ‘a place to master the way’, is a first-of-its kind program that seeks to engage with bartenders to not only improve their skillset, but deepen their understanding of the philosophy and customs that embody The House of Suntory’s roots in Japanese craftsmanship.
Led by House of Suntory’s Brand Ambassador, James Bowker, the DOJO programme will be supported by traditional Japanese Craft Masters. Together they will provide best-in-class education in Japanese culture, craft and bartending, centring on the three key pillars of House of Suntory: Hibiki, Omotenashi and Monozukuri.
Between June and September, the Japanese Craft Masters will each present an online masterclass with James Bowker:
In addition to this and in the spirit of traditional DOJO training, participants will also be able to take part in Kaizen Challenges, inspired by the idea of Kaizen – continual refinement – wherein participants will demonstrate their newfound skills and apply them to a classic cocktail. The participants who display the most commitment and personal development will be invited to a grand finale where House of Suntory will select the strongest DOJO apprentices to join them for a one-of-a-kind trip to Japan.
Commenting on the re-launch, James Bowker, UK Brand Ambassador for the House of Suntory said: “We are extremely proud to bring back DOJO for a second year. The programme is a great opportunity to engage with bartenders across the country and share with them the three pillars behind the House of Suntory brand that makes it so unique. Educating bartenders on Japanese culture has always been a passion of mine and I cannot wait to welcome the next cohort of Dojo ambassadors.”
For more information on DOJO, please visit www.suntorydojo.com
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