Suntory shows off the limited edition Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022

The House of Suntory is making sakura bloom outside of spring with its latest Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022.

The blended whisky, which was revealed this month, is the second release of a limited edition series that uses Japanese cherry casks.

It joins a list of domestically-produced whiskies that have taken advantage of Japan’s flexible whisky regulations to offer a dram distinctive from other international styles.

First introduced in 1989, Hibiki – whose name means Harmony – is an outlier in Suntory‘s portfolio of whiskies. It does not have its own distillery; instead, the non-statement whisky is made by blending various malt and grain whiskies drawn from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Chita, and Hakushu distilleries.

Hibiki Blossom Harmony distinguishes itself from the core range by incorporating sakura, or cherry blossom. The Japanese national flower is integral to the country’s culture. Viewing trees in bloom is a popular spring past time, and its leaves are used in the cuisine.

(Image credit: Suntory)
(Image credit: Suntory)

For this expression, fifth generation chief blender Shinji Fukuyo wanted to focus on the wood. “I have been mesmerised by the sakura cask for the last five years now due to its symbolism, but also because of its distinctive, subtly floral and spicy aroma, and flavour notes,” he said.

According to Fukuyo, achieving the right balance and blend was challenging. Sakura cask exerts a strong influence on the whisky, which can be overbearing when not managed properly. The wood is also porous, which can cause over-oxidation and leakage.

After some experiments, Fukuyo settled on maturing Hibiki’s grain component in sakura casks, which makes up around 20 percent of the overall blend. “We found that there was a special alchemy between the grain whiskies and the sakura cask,” he said. “It is this special relationship – harmony – that inspired me to create this blend.”

Coming in at 43 percent ABV, the whisky opens with a delicate floral bouquet followed by lush honey, orange peel, jasmine, and rich chocolate. The palate is ripe with tropical fruits and warm toast over the sweet-salty tang of sakura mochi, finishing off with bittersweet spicy notes.

(Image credit: Suntory)
(Image credit: Suntory)

While Scotland has strict laws dictating the type of oak used in their whisky, Japan’s rules are much looser. This has encouraged distillers to play native wood like mizunara and sakura. Under its Chita brand, Suntory has a grain whiskey matured in sakura casks for three years. Kurayoshi Distillery, Mars Shinshu, and Nagahama Distillery also have similarly-styled whiskies.

The Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022 sells for a bargain-basement price of S$1,200, but it is an investment. The 2021 edition costs more from some local online retailers that still stock it. This year’s release can be found in-store at 1855 The Bottle Shop, or online from iShopChangi, Wines ‘n’ Spirits, 1855 The Bottle Shop, Alcohol Delivery, Alcohaul, and Paneco.

Goho Kaiseki & Bar is also offering the new whisky as an add-on to their omakase menus from now till 30 November 2022. For an additional $77++, diners can get two Hibiki pairings: a Hibiki Harmony highball served with seasonal appetisers, and Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022 served neat and paired with wagyu short rib or pork jowl with seasonal vegetables, satsumaimo puree, warijoyu jus, and shaved roasted chestnuts.

Goho is located at 53A Duxton Rd, Entrance via RAPPU, Singapore 089517. Book here.

The post Suntory shows off the limited edition Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2022 appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.