[Review]HIBIKI BLOSSOM HARMONY 2023

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
SuntoryYamazaki DistilleryHakushu DistilleryChita Distillery

HIBIKI Blossom Harmony 2023, a blend of rare original whisky post-aged in cherry casks, features, price, and site for purchase.

HIBIKI is the pinnacle of Japan’s world-class blended whisky.
HIBIKI is said to be a blend of carefully selected, long-aged original whiskys from over 800,000 unique original whiskys produced and stored at Suntory’s three distilleries in Japan: the Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita Distilleries.

HIBIKI Blossom Harmony” has been on sale since 2021, and this will be the third release. It is made from grain whisky aged for more than 10 years in white oak barrels and then further aged for several years in cherry casks. It has a sweet aroma like an elegant Japanese confectionery.

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1. Who is Suntory Spirits Limited?

Suntory Spirits Limited, which produces HIBIKI Blossom Harmony 2023, celebrates its 100th anniversary of whisky production in 2023. The company was founded by Shinjiro Torii as Kotobukiya, the predecessor of Suntory. It owns not only three distilleries in Japan but also many whisky distilleries all over the world.

Company Name Suntory Spirits Limited
Established 1899
Head office 2-3-3 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 135-8631, Japan
Owned distilleries Japan
Yamazaki distillery, Hakushu distillery, Chita distillery
Scotland
Ardmore distillery, Glengilly distillery, Auchentoshan distillery, Bowmore distillery, Laphroig distillery
Ireland
Cooley distillery, Kilbeggan distillery
America
Jim Beam distillery, Maker’s Mark distillery
Canada
Hiram Walker distillery, Alberta distillery

What is Suntory Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita Distilleries?

HIBIKI Blossom Harmony 2023 is produced by blending the original spirits from Suntory’s three distilleries in Japan (Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries).

2-1. Yamazaki Distillery

Name of Distillery Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
Location 5-2-1, Yamazaki, Shimamoto-cho, Mishima-gun, Osaka 618-0001, Japan
Start of operation 1923

Yamazaki Distillery was established in 1923 as the first malt whisky distillery in Japan. It was a time when whisky was still a rare drink for the general public.

We want to make Japanese whiskey that suits the delicate Japanese palate.

 With this passion in mind, Shinjiro Torii set out to make whisky.
Shinjiro insisted on the Japanese climate. Water” and “environment ” were especially important. Yamazaki is a village of famous water called Minaseno, which was written in Manyo poetry.
The water in this area, loved by the tea master Sennorikyu, was ideal for whisky production. The natural environment was also perfect.
Yamazaki, located southwest of Kyoto and surrounded by thick bamboo forests at the foot of Mt. Located at the confluence of the Katsura, Uji, and Kizu Rivers, and surrounded by mountains, the area is prone to thick fog and has a mild and humid climate, which are ideal conditions for the maturation of whisky.

Shinjiro decided to make Yamazaki the home of his whisky, saying, “Yamazaki is the only place with this water and climate to make good whisky.

Reference: YAMAZAKI MOMENTS

Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
1923 Yamazaki Distillery was built. First domestic whisky distillery.
1929: The first domestic whisky “Shirofuda” released
1937 “Kakubin” (square bottle) is released
1984 Single malt whisky “Yamazaki” is released
1992 Single Malt whisky ” Yamazaki 18years ” was put on sale.
1998 Single Malt whisky “Yamazaki 25years” is released.

For more information on Yamazaki Distillery, please also see this article.

Yamazaki Distillery | Japanese...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

2-2. Hakushu Distillery

Name of Distillery Suntory Hakushu Distillery
Location 2913-1 Torihara, Hakushu-cho, Hokuto City, Yamanashi 408-0316
Start of operation 1973

In 1973, exactly 50 years after the first whisky was produced in Japan, the Hakushu Distillery was completed in a lush forest of approximately 820,000 square meters at the foot of Mount Kai-komagatake in the Southern Alps, blessed with abundant nature.
The brewing water is surrounded by the moist atmosphere of the forest, and the Hakushu malt is made from the pure and soft natural water of the Southern Alps, polished by granite. The long maturation process in the changing seasons unique to Japan is the source of the aromatic and refreshing Hakushu flavor.
In 2014, four pot stills were added at a cost of 1 billion yen, bringing the total to 16. A wide variety of pot stills of different sizes and shapes are used to make different types of sake. The cellar is a high-ceilinged rack type. Temperature and humidity are not controlled by human hands, but left to nature.

1973 Hakushu Distillery was built.
1994 Hakushu 12years old is released
2006 Hakushu 18years old was released
2008: 25 years of Hakushu released

Image Exhibit: Suntory Official Forest Distillery

For more information on Hakushu Distillery, please also see this article.

白州蒸溜所 | ジャパニーズウイスキーディクショナリー
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

2-3. Chita Distillery

Distillery Name Suntory Chita Distillery
Location 16 Kitahama-cho, Chita-shi, Aichi 478-0046, Japan
Start of operation 1973 (the first distillery in Japan)

Chita Distillery, located on the Chita Peninsula overlooking Ise Bay, is a grain whisky distillery jointly established by Suntory Group and Zen-Noh Group, and is one of the three domestic whisky distilleries of Suntory Group along with Yamazaki Distillery and Hakushu Distillery. Here, they have supported grain whisky made from corn. The Chita distillery uses a continuous distillation process to produce three types of grain whisky: clean, medium, and heavy, which is unique in the world.

For more information on the Chita distillery, see also this article.

Chita Distillery | Japanese Wh...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

3. photo of the bottle and the website where you can buy it

HIBIKI BLOSSOM HARMONY 2023
HIBIKI Blossom Harmony 2023

4. features of HIBIKI Blossom Harmony 2023

This special “HIBIKI” is a blend of a wide variety of unblended whisky that has been aged well over the course of four seasons and rare whisky  that has been post-aged in cherry blossom casks.

You will enjoy the harmony of the fragrance that reminds you of flowers, the round and harmonious taste, and the rich and sweet aftertaste.

The special design of “HIBIKI BLOSSOM HARMONY 2023” was created with the wish for the happiness and health of those who spend time with it.
The “Matsukawabishi,” a combination of large and small diamond shapes, is a uniquely Japanese auspicious design. The design depicts auspicious flowers, such as cherry blossoms and gentian, on the diamonds.

Tasting note
Color: amber
Aroma: Aromatic floral aroma, cherry blossoms, and goldenrod
Taste: round mouthfeel, spacious on the palate, elegant sweetness like acacia honey, lafrance, and sakura mochi (cherry blossom cake)
Aftertaste: long, rich and gorgeous

Reference: Suntory official website

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Green apple, Japanese sweets, soft and fresh cherry blossom aroma
Taste Gentle sweetness of honey and suama(Japanese Sweets), sweetness of fresh fruits
Aftertaste Slightly fresh aroma of cherry blossoms gives way to a slightly spicy aftertaste

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content 43% (with a slight alcohol content of 43%)
alcohol category Blended whisky
Cask type Cherry casks, etc.
Volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited quantity
Suggested Retail Price 11,000 yen (tax included)
Release date May 30, 2023

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. List price and online price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product name HIBIKI BLOSSOM HARMONY 2023
Capacity 700ml
Suggested Retail Price 11,000 yen (including tax)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 20,000 yen to 26,000 yen. (*As of 6/20/20/2023)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

The lowestbid price on Yahoo! Auction was 19,000 yen, the highest was 29,000 yen, and the average was 21,423 yen (*Statistics for the past 180 days from 6/20/20/20, 2023).

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Mail-order websites also sell at prices ranging from 20,000 yen to 35,000 yen. (*As of 6/20/20/2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer small quantities such as1glass,45ml: 4,950 yen, 30ml: 3,300 yen, 15ml: 1,650 yen.

Information about "BAR Shinkai"
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys introduced on this site, they also handle domestic gin and beer. Original cocktails and fresh fruit cocktails are also popular. There is also a wide variety of food available for the first time.

7. Summary

The impression is that the post-ripeness of the cherry casks and the whisky as a whole is well matured.
The sweetness of the grain whisky and the refined sweetness from the cherry barrel-finished original sake are combined to create a sweetness with depth. The mouthfeel is round and honey-like, and the aroma of cherry blossoms gradually spreads in the mouth. The fresh and fruity taste of apples and pears is combined with the gentle sweetness of honey and sweet amas to create a complex flavor. This is followed by a subtle, fresh aroma of cherry blossoms.

Like Yamazaki Limited Edition, which has been on sale since 2021, this whisky should be savored carefully.

Please take a look at our other articles on HIBIKI Blossom Harmony.

[Review] HIBIKI BLOSSOM HARMONY ...
HIBIKI BLOSSOM HARMONY 2022 is a blend of grain base sake post-aged in cherry barrels. It is characterized by a subtle a...
[Review] Hibiki BLOSSOM HARMONY ...
A fragrant aroma and round taste that will add a festive touch to any celebration. This is a delicate blend of a wide va...
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Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whisky and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whisky and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whisky? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whisky in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.

この記事を書いた人
Ryuhei Oishi

Bartender at bar Shinkai Toranomon, born in Hokkaido.
After working at a restaurant in Tokyo, became a certified sommelier by the Japan Sommelier Association.
I became interested in Japanese whiskey, of which he had little knowledge, and started working at bar Shinkai. I went to distilleries to talk to the distillers and joined JWD to share their passion and information as a bartender.

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