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Harmoniously blending together malt and grain whiskies from across three distilleries (Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita), Suntory made the 12 year-old to be unique from the get-go. The Hibiki 12 years is the only one in its range to include whisky that has gone through maturation in casks once used to age umeshu (Japanese plum wine). The Hibiki bottle itself has 24 facets intended to represent the 24 seasons of the old Japanese lunar calendar.
For a whisky now famous the world over, the Hibiki range is certainly suitably named for the “echos” and “resonances” it has created throughout the whisky world. In 1989 Suntory first released this brand of premium blended whisky to stand alongside its two single malts, Yamazaki and Hakushu. In 2009, Hibiki 12 years was introduced, after which it promptly began garnering awards and accolades in the following few years in various global spirits competitions.
Sadly, the spectacular success and commercial popularity of this iconic component of the range soon surpassed Suntory’s capacity to supply. In 2015, after a brief 6 years spent bringing home accolades yearly and establishing Hibiki 12 years’ position as one of most sought after premium blended whiskies, Suntory announced its decision to discontinue the 12 year old. There was simply not enough aged whisky in Suntory’s warehouses to keep up with the overwhelming market demand. Today the Hibiki 12 years remains a highly coveted Japanese whisky: a legacy, an echo of Suntory company’s brilliant effort to produce a superior, iconic and approachable embodiment of quality Japanese blended whisky.
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