Suntory Launches New Whisky in US: HIBIKI 12 Year Old

Suntory Launches New Whisky in US:  HIBIKI 12 Year Old Launch to Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of HIBIKI—
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(July 29, 2009) – New York, NY… This October, Suntory Limited will introduce Suntory HIBIKI 12 Year Old in the United States.  This premium blended Japanese whisky, often referred to as the pinnacle of the Suntory portfolio, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  HIBIKI whisky was first seen by many Americans in the feature film Lost In Translation, as the brand touted for Japanese TV by actor Bill Murray.  Now, no longer “lost” to the American market, it will be available wherever fine whiskies are sold in the US.

As a fitting way to encourage worldwide brand-building, Suntory has planned a special US launch expanding the global popularity of the 12-year-old class in the global blended whisky market.  This new offering brings together all of Suntory’s whisky making expertise and blending craftsmanship for whisky enthusiasts around the world.

About HIBIKI 12 Year Old

HIBIKI 12 Year Old boasts unique characteristics that no other 12-year-old whisky in the world has to offer.   A superior blend of over 30 handcrafted, specially aged whiskies, HIBIKI is Suntory’s original blended whisky.

The Art of Blending

To create HIBIKI, Suntory selects malt whiskies with extraordinary qualities that spring naturally from the crystal clear waters and warm climates surrounding the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries.  These carefully selected malts are then blended with a variety of Japanese grain whiskies that feature a touch of malt matured in Umeshu casks — special casks that have been used in the long-term aging of Japanese plum liqueur.  Finally, the blend is topped off with a superlative vintage whisky aged more than 30 years.  The artistry of blending is combined with bamboo charcoal filtering, a unique process which gives HIBIKI its distinctive sweet and mellow flavor.

The HIBIKI Aging Process

The malt whiskies in HIBIKI are matured 12 years or more and are perfectly matched with mellow grain whiskies of the same age.  Once the whisky has been aged in white oak casks it is then allowed to mature in Umeshu casks. The use of these plum liqueur-seasoned casks creates a unique bouquet of fruity aromas and a velvety soft texture, two characteristics that are unique to Suntory whisky. The addition of venerable malt aged more than 30 years strengthens the full bouquet, resulting in a clean, full bodied flavor.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, HIBIKI opens with a fruity bouquet of plums, raspberries and pineapples, followed by sweet honey and vanilla. On the palate, a soft and mellow sweetness makes HIBIKI a whisky best enjoyed straight.  The finish is long, clean, sweet and spicy. As for color, HIBIKI shines with brilliant amber hue that’s tinged with a warm hint of gold.

Packaging Highlights

The exquisite HIBIKI bottle has 24 facets, representing both the hours in a day and the ancient Japanese calendar, in which a year was divided into twenty four parts. Suntory uses a unique Japanese paper for the HIBIKI label.  The texture of the Echizen paper, or “Washi” in Japanese, is achieved through the careful application of traditional Japanese paper-making techniques. The Japanese symbol on the label means HIBIKI, a word that holds many positive meanings in Japanese, one of them being “Harmony.”  Suntory chose HIBIKI to express the exquisite balance of this whisky, born of the harmony of malt on malt.

HIBIKI is distributed in the US by Skyy Spirits, LLC.  For more information on Skyy Spirits, visit www.skyyspirits.com.

International awards won by Suntory HIBIKI 17, 21 and 30 Year Olds in recent years

Year Competition Award Winner
2008 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Trophy HIBIKI 30 Years Old
 World Whisky Awards (WWA, UK) World’s Best Blended Whisky HIBIKI 30 Years Old
2007 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Trophy HIBIKI 30 Years Old
 World Whisky Awards (WWA, UK) World’s Best Blended Whisky HIBIKI 30 Years Old
 International Wine and Spirit Competition
 (IWSC, UK) Best in Class HIBIKI 30 Years Old
   HIBIKI 17 Years Old
2006 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Trophy HIBIKI 30 Years Old
 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Gold HIBIKI 21 Years Old
2005 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Gold HIBIKI 21 Years Old
 San Francisco World Spirits Competition  (SWSC, U.S.A.) Gold HIBIKI 17 Years Old
2004 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Trophy HIBIKI 30 Years Old
 International Spirits Challenge
 (ISC, UK) Gold HIBIKI 21 Years Old

- Details –
▼ Product Name, Volume, Suggested Retail Price, Alcohol Content, Packaging
  Suntory HIBIKI Whisky Aged 12 Years , 750 ml , $55-60 , 43% , 6 bottles
▼ Date Available Gradual release starting October, 2009
▼ Sales Area Select US Markets

Suntory Ltd.
Suntory Ltd. is one of the world’s leading wine and spirits companies.  Founded in 1899, Suntory was the first company to introduce western-style spirits to Japan.  Suntory’s businesses today encompass liquor, including whisky, shochu, wine and beer; food products; soft drinks; floral products; restaurants; and sports.  Suntory exports a wide range of authentic Japanese whiskies and liqueurs to 35 countries, including the United States.  Made with exceptional Japanese craftsmanship, these include the unique melon liqueur MIDORI, which is especially popular in the U.S., and YAMAZAKI Single Malt Whisky, Japan’s premier single malt whisky.  With its head office in Osaka, the Suntory Group comprises 170 companies operating in 17 countries.

About Skyy Spirits, LLC

Skyy Spirits, LLC is the US-based wholly owned subsidiary of Gruppo Campari (Reuters CPRI:MI – Bloomberg CPR IM) and the definitive marketer and distributor of super-premium and luxury spirits brands in North America.  Launched in 1992 with the introduction of its flagship brand, SKYY® Vodka, Skyy Spirits has grown exponentially, building a portfolio unrivaled in its quality, innovation and style, making it a top choice among distributors, retailers and consumers.  Skyy Spirits manages Gruppo Campari’s portfolio in the US of such leading brands as SKYY® Vodka, SKYY90®, SKYY InfusionsTM, Campari®, Wild Turkey® Straight Kentucky Bourbon, American Honey™, Russell’s Reserve®, Cabo Wabo® Tequila, Ouzo 12®, X-Rated® Fusion Liqueur® and Jean-Marc XO Vodka®.  Skyy Spirits is also the exclusive US distributor of Cutty Sark® Scotch Whisky, The Glenrothes® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Bowmore® Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Auchentoshan® Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Glen Garioch® Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Flor de Caña® Rum, Carolans Irish Cream®, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey®, Irish Mist® Liqueur, Midori® Melon Liqueur, ZEN Green Tea Liqueur TM and The Yamazaki® Single Malt Whisky.

Skyy Spirits was founded and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.  More information on the company can be found at www.skyyspirits.com and www.camparigroup.com.  Please enjoy Skyy Spirits brands responsibly and in moderation.

  1. F.C. Review says:

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing it on your blog.

  1. […] Non Jatta reviews the Yamazaki 1984, as does John Hansell and Whisky Intelligence. […]


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