Suntory Hibiki 17 Phoenix Limited Edition
The Suntory Hibiki 17 Phoenix is the second bottle in the Kacho Fugetsu limited edition series and was released in 2011. In my view, it’s not the best-designed bottle. A few of the others are simply breathtaking. Technically, the bottle features two phoenixes, one large one in the front, and a baby phoenix on the back depicting that phoenixes are mythological birds that cyclically regenerate or are otherwise born again.
Suntory are one of the founding fathers of Japanese whisky, established by Shinjirō Torii in 1899 as a wine store in Osaka. The venture was hugely successful, and the company was renamed Kotobukiya in 1921, which built its first distillery three years later, Yamazaki. The distillery produced both malt and grain whiskies which the company blended together, releasing its first Suntory White Label in 1929, the resulting popularity of which saw the firm renamed after it 1963. Expansion in the next decade saw the company move its grain production to a new Chita distillery in 1972, and open a second malt distillery, Hakushu, the following year. Suntory today has a large stake in both the bourbon and Scotch whisky industry, but remains at the forefront of its native whisky market too.
This is Suntory’s most popular blend, the Hibiki. Launched in 1989, it contains malt whisky from Yamazaki and Hakushu, and grain from the Chita distillery. The 17 year old was joined in the original lineup by a 21 year old and a non-age statement. The latter both still exist in one form or another, but this expression was discontinued in 2018 after unprecedented demand for Japanese whiskies created wholesale stock shortages within even its largest companies.
Known as the Phoenix Edition, this is an exceptionally rare limited release.
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