Understandably, the $60,000 price tag may exclude you from obtaining a Yamazaki 55. Fret not; another emerging Suntory product is within (fiscal) reach: The 2021 Limited Edition Hibiki Japanese Harmony. The Hibiki line launched in 1989 and remained a bit of a sleeper until a few years ago. An artistic blend of Suntory’s great Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita malts, Hibiki Harmony (launched in 2015) is complex yet delicate, an absurdly tasty daily drinker that evolves with each sip.
After it caught on stateside, pricing went from reasonable to obscene, and we rapidly drained stores of age statement Hibiki, including the 12 year and the 17 year. Both have been discontinued from production, leaving only the 21 year (which carries a suggested retail price of $250, despite selling for more than $1,000) and Hibiki Harmony ($65, MSRP).
Each year, Suntory releases a special painted limited-edition Hibiki Harmony that pays tribute to the 24 facets of the bottle itself. Each facet represents both an hour in the day, in addition to the 24 seasons that comprise the traditional Japanese lunar calendar.
The 2021 edition pays tribute to the Ryusui-Hyakka (One-Hundred Flowers and Flowing Water). “The design motif epitomizes the cyclical passage of time, showcasing the blossoms of the Japanese twenty-four seasons juxtaposed with the ever-changing flow of water that connects one passing season to another. The Hibiki bottle celebrates the much-loved blooms, colors and shapes of seasonal flowers that make the Japanese year so special,” per Suntory.
Each bottle will retail for $125 and there should be plenty of bottles available. While you may be able to find a bottle in the wild, the odds of markup will be high; prior limited editions of Hibiki Harmony often retail for north of $400.