Wanted: Suntory’s Hibiki 30-Year-Old Whiskey

Why Japanese Whiskey is the hottest thing around (and why we can't get our hands on it)

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Japanese whiskey enthusiasts in the states worry that the American palate isn’t ready for a such a valued whiskey.

Watch out, Scotch, a new Japanese whiskey is in town. As reported by NPR, a Japanese whiskey called Suntory’s Hibiki 30-year-old whiskey is in high demand in the US. With less than 15,000 bottles shipped to the US, it is almost impossible to get even one.

Made in a city called Shinamotowhere it is known for the exquisite taste of waters, Hibiki has a “special ice or water, sometimes temple water that’s never been in pipes.” In 2003, Suntory’s 30-year-old Hibachi whiskey was the first whiskey brand to win that was not made in Scotland. Ever since then, the product has been growing in popularity, with an increase of 44 percent in 2 years.

Although it may be hard for Americans to get their hands on this prized whiskey, even the Japanese aren’t guaranteed to get some. Neyah White, the Suntory brand ambassador, says that it is important to  take care of their customers who have been drinking Suntory for generations and make sure they have an uninterrupted supply. More so, Japanese whiskey enthusiasts in the states worry that the American palate isn’t ready for a such a valued whiskey.  Eddie Kim, the beverage director at the Japanese izakaya Daikaya in DC, told NPR that he believes the reason for this is because the Japanese are afraid Americans won’t appreciate the taste or thought of the drink. Neyah White, the Suntory brand ambassador, also suggested to NPR because the drink is meant for Japanese palates and to be eaten with certain foods, like pickles.

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