The Hibiki 17 Year Old is a blended Japanese whisky from the house of Suntory. The word ‘Hibiki’ means Harmony in Japanese, and this expression was first released in 1989.
It has since developed a phenomenal following among whisky lovers, making it one of Suntory’s best performing products in the worldwide market, both critically and commercially
The Suntory brand began its journey as a small store in Osaka in 1899. Shinjiro Torii started his business dealing in imported wines and other products, eventually moving towards selling his own brand of fortified wine called Akadama Port Wine.
After much success, Torii named his firm the Kotobukiya Company, and began plans to build the first ever whisky distillery in Japan. Torii recruited Masataka Taketsuru, the eventual founder of Torii’s rival, Nikka Whisky.
Taketsuru helped Torii build the Yamazaki distillery in 1923, and worked for Torii for a decade before moving on. The Suntory Shirofuda whisky, distilled, matured and bottled at the Yamazaki Distillery was released in 1929, making it Japan’s first ever single malt whisky.
The Suntory name was adopted in 1963, inspired by the brand’s first ever whisky. Torii’s son, Keizo Saji expanded the company after his father’s demise, building two new distilleries to keep up with the growing demand. The Chita grain distillery was completed in 1972, and the Hakushu malt distillery was completed in 1973.
Over the years, many different whiskies were released by Suntory including single malts, blended whiskies, and single grain whiskies. Today, they also manufacture beer, vodka, gin and a number of non-alcoholic beverages such as Orangina, Lucozade and more.
The Yamazaki, Chita, Hakushu, Toki and Hibiki line of whiskies form Suntory’s entire whisky range. The Hibiki brand of whiskies gained a wider recognition throughout the world when both the Suntory brand, and the whisky were featured prominently in the movie Lost in Translation. Actor Bill Murray portrayed the role of a Hollywood movie star who was the face of the Suntory whisky brand. This helped Hibiki, and Suntory gain a tremendous awareness in other markets in the Western world.
Suntory recently announced that they shall be discontinuing the Hibiki 17 Year Old, replacing it with the Hibiki Blender’s Choice. This move was carried out due to depleting stocks, which Suntory is planning to stretch by releasing the Hibiki Blender’s Choice, a no-age-statement release.
The Hibiki 17 Year Old was a highly sought after brand before the decision to discontinue it was announced. The news of discontinuation has made the Hibiki 17 Year Old rare to find and very expensive, and sometimes both.
The Hibiki 17 Year Old is a blended Japanese whisky, created exactly the way blended Scotch whiskies are. A combination of Suntory’s finest malt and grain whiskies from the Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries respectively, the Hibiki 17 Year Old is a terrific blend.
Much of this whisky’s character and pleasant tasting notes can be attributed to its maturation in the rare and exclusive Japanese Mizunara oak barrels. The Mizunara oak trees grow at a far slower pace than American or European oak trees, and the timber is said to be very expensive. Mizunara oak is also said to be highly porous, and due to these attributes, there aren’t many non-Japanese whiskies that are matured in this type of barrels.
Chivas Regal, one of the most successful and premium blended Scotch whisky makers were one of the first to release an expression named after the Mizunara oak, the Chivas Regal Mizunara.
Alcohol Percentage in Hibiki 17 Year Old Blended Japanese Whisky
The Hibiki 17 Year Old is bottled at 43% ABV, slightly higher than the standard limit for Japanese whiskies.
Inspired by that interplay, Suntory Whisky Toki brings together old and new -the House of Suntory's proud heritage and its innovative spirit- to create blended Japanese whisky that is both groundbreaking and timeless. Silky with a subtle sweet and spicy finish, the smoothness of Suntory Whisky Toki gives it great versatility. It can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, as a highball or mixed as a cocktail.
Sweet, juicy fruit. Ripe peaches, melons and fresh, crushed rose petals.
Great mouth-feel. Very delicately balanced sweetness and fruity flavours. Hints of vanilla and butterscotch.
Long, fruity and sweet. Very pleasant
Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge in 2013