A century ago, Shinjiro Torii began distilling whisky within an idyllic valley northeast of Osaka. The liquid he laid down there would eventually reach the bottle as Yamazaki, which today is one of the most sought-after spirits on Earth. The single malt is the crown jewel of Suntory, the Japanese brewing and distillery company that grew from there into a global powerhouse.
Nevertheless, crafting a sensational single malt was never Torii's ultimate goal, according to brand ambassadors. Torii’s idea of whisky perfection was instead rooted in the beauty of the blend: bringing grain and malt components together in exacting proportions — which is why he’d be quite heartened to sip his company’s latest release, an exceptionally balanced, limited-edition Hibiki 21 Japanese blended whisky.
It arrives on shelves this season only, a commemoration of Suntory’s 100th anniversary, and will be frustratingly scarce. But if you’re lucky enough to land your hands on the $5,000 (about ¥757,000) bottle, here’s what you can expect to uncork.