It has sure been a long wait as major Japanese whisky Suntory has been on a 3-4 year hiatus to rebuild its reserves. But the wait is finally over!
In preparation for Ochugen, the Japanese mid-year tradition of gift-giving (like Christmas but in July), Suntory is releasing a Limited Edition Yamazaki and a brand new Hibiki expression, “Blossom Harmony”. There’s never enough harmony is there?
Suntory has signaled that its inventory is finally in a good place à la Eat. Pray. Love, so we can look forward to more releases this year. So let’s take a peek at the latest releases.
Image Source: Suntory
With the Yamazaki, the packaging and label design is noticeably different, which is from the artisanal Echizen Japanese paper used, upon which the design is ironed onto. This is designed to imitate the grain of the Mizunara wood, which Yamazaki is famous for using, giving it that characteristic musky, temple incense oak-yness, alongside coconut and citrus.
It will be composed on 12+ year old malts matured in first-fill Mizunara casks. Suntory’s press release describes it as smooth, thick, sweet and a chewy flavor with lively fruit.
Nomunication reports that the tasting notes to be expected are:
Nose: Pineapple, Orange, and Nutmeg
Palate: Honey, Coconut cream, and Blueberries
Finish: Vanilla, Ginger, and Light Smoke
I’m kidding, nothing too shocking or uncharacteristic, but still one to look forward to. It’ll be the usual 700ml, bottled at 43% abv and will go on sale 25th May 2021 for 8,000 yen (77.20 USD). It’s a limited release targeted at consumers so you can be fairly sure it’ll be a barfight getting your hands on it, but as always we’ll try our best to have you covered.
It all sounds great but we don’t have time to gawk! Moving on, moving on!
Image Source: Suntory
Next, we have the Hibiki “Blossom Harmony”, another limited release for 2021.
Following the basic Japanese Harmony, the subsequent Harmony Master Select, as well as limited editions Mellow Harmony and Deep Harmony, we now have Blossom Harmony. LOL
In all seriousness, unlike Yamazaki and Hakushu, Hibiki hasn’t really had a consistent annual limited edition release.
This time the Hibiki blend has been finished in Sakura casks, something other Japanese distillers like Akashi has done before, but I can imagine the difference here is how harmonious Hibiki’s blend is. I mean it really is a bloody good blend with a very strong foundation of complex layers upon layers of flavors, so I believe this will make for an interesting expression.
Just to dig in a little, Suntory mentions that these Sakura casks come from a blend of raw sake that has been aged in cherry barrels, which is the first time for Hibiki. It’s expected to be very floral from the cherry blossom barrels, mellow and obviously harmonious (seriously go check out Suntory.jp they love that word), rich and with a long refreshing finish.
To commemorate this release, the label will be adorned with cherry blossoms accented with a glossy red finish.
This is shaping up to be very interesting, I suspect our Pandas here are gonna love it from the sounds of it. This release will debut on 25th May 2021, also at the standard 700ml, also bottled at 43% abv and ALSO at 8,000 yen (77.20 USD). Everyone gets an “also” too. Again we promise to do our best to get our hands on some for you guys.