From later this year, Suntory has announced that they will discontinue Hibiki 17yo and Hakushu 12yo whiskies in certain markets.
The surge of popularity in recent years for Japanese Whisky has undoubtably made a dent in maintaining continuity of supply.
It’s not the first time we have seen such action, as only back in 2015 was the Hibiki 12yo discontinued and replaced by a No Age Stated expression called Hibiki Harmony. This is by no means an easy decision for any distillery to make, and of late many international brands have needed to change their typical offering in order to allow whiskies stocks to further age and return to a sustainable level.
In the more recent years, Suntory has invested greatly into increasing production capacity. Both distilleries Yamazaki and Hakushu have had additional stills installed. And, Suntory’s ageing warehouse has been expanded significantly. As time is an integral ingredient in these aged whiskies, it leaves Suntory in this difficult situation to manage existing whisky stocks with production output and overall distribution strategy.
We can anticipate that a flurry of collectors will scramble to attain the last available bottles before we see prices steadily rise. The two whiskies will be available in certain markets, however, in a limited supply. Nonetheless these expressions will become collectible and command a significant price.
We look forward to the return of these great whiskies in the years to come, and welcome some new innovative products from Suntory which will help fill the void.