Suntory's first big announcement of 2021 is not one but two bottles set to celebrate their gradual return of decently matured stock levels: Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021 and Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021. We're only a few days in and this year is shaping up to be a good one for Japanese whisky. Let's have a closer look.
Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021
After a four year hiatus, Suntory's reintroduction of the Yamazaki Limited Edition brand couldn't come at a better time.
Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021 is the first such release since 2017. There's a striking departure from previous releases in terms of the label design, this time calling to mind mizunara grain. Hopefully the contents of the bottle will live up to the wide acclaim of the series.
While Yamazaki LEs in days past were blends of malts in their late teens, LE 2021 here features malts 12+ years old. However mizunara fans will be pleased to know that this release uses only virgin mizunara cask whiskies. Suntory tells us to expect a smooth, thick, sweet-and-sourness:
Nose: pineapple, orange, and nutmeg
Palate: honey, coconut cream, and blueberries
Finish: vanilla, ginger, and light smoke
700mL, 43% abv, and it goes on sale May 25, 2021 for 8000 yen. Since this one has a proper press release and is intended for the mid-year gift market, it's a consumer-oriented release. Not a bar-only release like last year's Yamazaki 2020 Edition.
Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021
Hibiki traditionally hasn't seen yearly limited edition releases, but that could be changing. The company has simultaneously announced "Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021," featuring a brand-first blend of standard Hibiki with sakura cask finish whiskies. As you can imagine, they say we should expect the aroma to be quite floral and bright.
I suspect the sakura cask component of this is Chita grain, given the company's previous ESSENCE of SUNTORY WHISKY volume 4 release.
Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021 also arrives at 700ml, 43% abv, also on May 25, 2021 for the same 8000 yen. This one is also intended for the consumer gift-giving season of Ochugen.
Are things looking up for Suntory in 2021?
Separate to the above announcement, Yomiuri Shimbun yesterday reported that Suntory is looking to finally relax the shipping restrictions that have been in place at the company since 2010. Though the article doesn't mention any specific brands or products, perhaps we'll finally begin to see the company's single malts more readily available throughout the world.
I’m Whiskey Richard, and I am the founder of nomunication.jp. I’ve lived in Tokyo for over a decade, and I am a certified Shochu Kikisake-shi/Shochu Sommelier (焼酎唎酒師), Cocktail Professor (カクテル検定１級), and I hold Whisky Kentei Level 3 (ウイスキー検定３級). Click here for more details about me and this site. Kampai!