This Could Be Your Last Chance to Try One of Japan’s Most Famous Whiskies
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Updated September 18: Beam-Suntory representatives have confirmed the Hibiki 17 expression sold as a special release on Dekanta is standard Hibiki 17 whisky. The updated packaging was the result of a rebrand that occurred last year.
Japanese whisky’s status as the most sought-after, hard-to-find whiskey in the world is new. An event triggered by soaring reviews and awards in the early 2000s, the category’s popularity that put producers on their heels and unable to keep up with demand. Companies like Suntory, Nikka and others were forced to discontinue many of the prized expressions — none more grieved by the whiskey-drinking community than Hibiki 17-Year-Old, Suntory’s world-beating blended whisky. There’s good and bad news: it’s available again for what is the last time in the foreseeable future, but it’s going to cost you.
The 2019 Edition of Hibiki 17 is available for pre-order on Japanese whisky retailer Dekanta for a whopping $600, a $450 jump over the whisky’s official $150 retail price. It’s unclear whether the whisky in the 2019 edition is any different than the standard Hibiki 17, but it does come with updated, more premium packaging.
Hibiki is most notable for its comprehensive use of Suntory’s whisky-making tools. It’s the only of the brand’s whiskies — which include Yamazaki, Hakushu and Toki — to feature a blend of spirits distilled and aged at each of its three whiskey producing outposts (Yamazaki Distillery, Hakushu Distillery, Chita Distillery). Hibiki 17 is most known for the flavors exhibited by the whisky aged in ultra-rare Mizunara oak barrels, a maturation process developed in Japan said to imbue the booze with coconut and sandalwood flavors.
Your last shot at Hibiki 17 ships by the third week in October. Representatives for Beam-Suntory could not confirm whether the final offering of Hibiki 17 would be available in regular retail locations before publishing.