Dining

House of Suntory employs Sakura casks for limited edition Hibiki Blossom Harmony whisky

A bottle of Hibiki Blossom Harmony with a chef in the background of its London launch

Japanese whisky pioneer The House of Suntory has released Hibiki Blossom Harmony, a limited edition blend finished in Sakura wood casks.  

The new whisky sets out to capture the spirit of Japan’s spring cherry blossom season, by blending a rare selection of matured malt and grain whiskies in the floral casks.

Hibiki, which means ‘Resonance’ in Japanese, hails from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries. 

The idea of employing Sakura casks was one that particularly intrigued fifth generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo.

“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,” says Fukuyo. “There have been many experiments with malt and grain whisky components, and we found that there was a special alchemy between the grain whiskies and the Sakura cask. It is this special relationship,  harmony,  that inspired me to create this blend.”

Bottled at 43 per cent ABV, the amber liquid has a smooth mouthfeel, with notes of honey and sweet pear. 

The idea of employing Sakura casks was one that particularly intrigued fifth generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo…

Setting the scene for the Hibiki Blossom Harmony tasting event
The launch of Hibiki Blossom Harmony was fully immersive – and we were there

To launch Hibiki Blossom Harmony, the House of Suntory staged an immersive tasting experience in London, with high-tech 12k projectors depicting the micro seasons of Japan and lavish ikebana displays.  A 12 course pairing menu was accompanied by an assortment of Hibiki-based cocktails. Shinji Fukuyo was on hand to relate the story behind the new release, and we were all ears.

“As a limited edition, I wanted our Hibiki aficionados to enjoy a Hibiki they had never experienced before, something unexpected,” explains Fukuyo.

Fukuyo describes the 43 percent ABV as “very pure, and light.”

This new expression of Hibiki is complex and inviting. Similarly, the accompanying Hibiki Blossom Harmony launch menu was an intriguing mix of flavour combinations.

Hibiki Blossom Harmony and chilled soda cocktail

Tuna parfait, crab salad and trout, with daikon radish and Shiso tempura, heralded the beginning of Spring, washed down with a glass of Hibiki Harmony and chilled soda.

Chicken yakitori, ponzu-infused tomatoes and prawn croquettes took us into summer, accompanied by a fusion of Hibiki Harmony, ponzu and sparkling sake.

Grilled Wagyu, soy-based roasted baby gem lettuce and buckwheat soba noodles ushered us toward autumn, with a cocktail of Hibiki Harmony, white truffle, mirin and sake.

Finally, scallop nigiri, matcha and Sakura blossom panna cotta and chocolate delivered us to winter, with a Hibiki Harmony and matcha Old Fashioned for company.

Not to be missed, Hibiki Blossom Harmony is available from October 18, priced at £175. It’s available through Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange, Amathus, Milroys and Soho Wines.  

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About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and editor of The Luxe Review, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, Yahoo UK, Home Cinema Choice, Games Radar, Ideal Home, Louder Sounds, Channel News and Boat International. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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