What flavour properties could the sakura wood bring to this new Hibiki whisky?
As one of the most popular whisky categories in the world, Japanese whisky — bolstered by both scarcity and high demand — truly is the equivalent of liquid gold, especially for collectors. After the loss of big names like Hakushu 12 Year Old and Hibiki 17 Year Old last year, however, Suntory is ready to get back in action with not only a limited edition blend but a brand new variety that encapsulates the beauty of Japan.
Called the Blossom Harmony, this Hibiki sees its premium blended whisky finished in cherry wood barrels, making it the first-ever to be aged in sakura wood. The limited-edition blend is just as beautiful on the palette as you can imagine, with aromas of fresh cherry blossoms bursting through before revealing the whisky’s mellow flavours with a lingering yet refreshing finish.
This isn’t the first time the country’s best floral export has been used in the industry, but it’ll be a growing trend judging by the characteristically floral notes it imparts on any whisky that’s been matured in it. After all, unlike Scotch whisky — which is riddled with rules and regulations dictating the different types of wood which you can or cannot mature whisky in — the World Whisky category is given much more freedom to innovate and experiment.
Smaller establishments like Kurayoshi Distillery, Mars Shinshu, and Nagahama Distillery have already celebrated the springtime blossom with the experimental wood type. The challenge then has always been to capture the wood’s beguiling essence without overwhelming the palate.
The Hibiki Blossom Harmony will see metallic red branding with “a hundred flowers suitable for a celebration” drawn on its label, making it a stellar gift (as it was intended by Suntory) when it finally hits shelves on 25 May at a retail price of 8,000 yen (approx. RM310).
(Hero image credit: Unsplash/ Mark Tegethoff)
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.