Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A smaller Hibiki 12 for Japan & Europe

Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub.

From this spring, Suntory will be seeking to further push the global presence of its flagship premium blended whisky “Hibiki 12”. It will come with a slightly different label, and will also be available in a slightly smaller size (500ml). After its debut at home on April 2nd, it will be rolled out in the UK and France, where it should be available towards the end of May.

Hibiki was created in 1989 to mark Suntory’s 90th anniversary. Twenty years later, in 2009, the company decided to introduce a 12-year old version to the European market, with the aim of building a global brand. A couple of months later, Suntory also started selling their 12yo in Japan. It has picked up numerous awards since and its popularity - both at home and abroad - keeps growing, witness last year’s 20% increase in total sales.
Hibiki 12 is a mild, smooth blend with a sweet overall profile and a slightly tart finish. It’s built around malt matured in ex-umeshu casks (American white oak casks used for a period of about 2 years to mature plum liqueur) which is, obviously, relatively young, but to give it extra depth, they also use a significant percentage of older components (over 30yo).

The introduction of a smaller sized bottle is an attempt to expand Hibiki’s fan base. Suntory is hoping it will encourage people who haven’t tried it yet to pick up a bottle for themselves whilst also making it a bit more appealing – economically, that is – as a potential gift.


Anonymous said...

Hi can this be Pre Ordered


J McGuire

Stefan said...

There won't be any need to pre-order. It will be part of their core range, initially in Japan, the UK and France. Possibly in other markets later, too. It's not a "limited edition", so there should be plenty to go around.

CaptinTom said...

Do you know if they have any plans to do the same thing for the 17 and 21 year old's too...?

Stefan said...

No such plans at the moment. I think the price of those older expressions would work against such a move in the sense that a 500ml of a (relatively) expensive bottle would still seem expensive. Whereas with the 12yo, the perception will be that the 500ml seems quite reasonable. After all, people see the price first, and other matters (size, ...) follow that.

Bingobangoboy said...

Good news for readers of Forbes, whose resident whiskey expert today declared Hibiki 12 his favourite Japanese "single malt".