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The Art of Hibiki 21 Blending

Uniting Suntory's Distilleries - Yamazaki, Chita, and Hakushu

Bottle Variations of Hibiki 21 Year Old Whisky

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s aged Japanese whisky came under the international spotlight after winning major international competitions. In response to the growing international interest, Suntory, a prominent Japanese whisky brand, developed the Hibiki 21 blend and launched it in 1989.

This blend combined whiskies from its three primary distilleries - Yamazaki, Chita, and Hakushu.

The Yamazaki distillery was known for its high-quality single malt whiskies, while the Chita distillery specialized in grain whisky production. The Hakushu distillery contributed to the blend with both malt and grain whiskies. 

The Rarity, Price, and Demand of Hibiki 21

With auction prices for Hibiki 21 ranging from a low of $800 for more common versions to as much as $10,000 for rarer editions, several factors contribute to the high price of this sought-after whisky.

  • Increasing global demand for Japanese whiskies, resulting in rising prices across the category.
  • Limited availability of aged stocks, which adds to the cost of production.
  • Noteworthy design and packaging, featuring an intricate design inspired by traditional Japanese patterns and fabrics on the bottle.
  • High-quality packaging materials, such as paulownia wood and Echizen washi paper, which add to the overall cost of the whisky and emphasize the attention to detail and quality characteristic of Japanese culture.
  • Scarcity of Hibiki 21, making it more difficult to find and causing the price to rise considerably.

Popularity among whisky enthusiasts

Hibiki 21 has gained significant popularity and admiration among whisky enthusiasts, who frequently describe it as smooth, balanced, and complex. Many consider it the best blended whisky they've tried, praising its fantastic nose and long finish. The outstanding taste of Hibiki 21, along with its limited availability, has only heightened its allure among whisky enthusiasts.

Adding to its impressive reputation, Hibiki 21 has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 96-point rating in the Whisky Bible 2014 and being named World’s Best Blended Whisky at the 2013 World Whiskies Awards. These achievements speak to its exceptional quality and contribute to its status as a sought-after treasure, despite its rarity and often high price.

Different Hibiki 21 Releases

To maximize any return for sale at auction (or to ensure you don’t purchase an incorrectly labelled bottle), it is essential to be knowledgeable about the different Hibiki 21 releases and their respective values.

The various limited editions and packaging options can significantly impact the auction price.

Hibiki 21 Year Old Standard Edition

Standard Edition Hibiki 21 Year Old Whisky

Packaging featuring a black Label and dark box

The standard Hibiki 21 release is the most popular and widely available edition.

  • Auction prices averaging around $800+.

Hibiki 21-Year-Old Kacho Fugetsu Limited Edition

Kacho Fugetsu Limited Edition Hibiki 21 Year Old Whisky

This limited-edition release, featuring intricate designs inspired by Japanese nature. The bottle has 24 facets, representing the 24 seasons of the Japanese lunar calendar.

  • Auction prices averaging around $1,300+.

Hibiki 21 Year Old Mount Fuji 1st Edition

Mount Fuji 1st Edition Hibiki 21 Year Old Whisky

The first edition, released in 2014, with only 2,000 bottles produced. This extremely rare edition featuring a hand painted picture of Mount Fuji, commemorates Mount Fuji's addition to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2013.

  • Auction prices averaging around $8,000+.

Hibiki 21 Year Old Mount Fuji 2nd Edition

Mount Fuji 2nd Edition Hibiki 21 Year Old Whisky

The second edition, released in 2015, features a scenic view of Mount Fuji and comes in a plain wooden box.

  • Auction prices averaging around $3,800+.

Hibiki 21 as an Investment

The potential for discontinuation.

Given the increasing scarcity of aged whiskies and the high demand for Hibiki 21, there is potential for discontinuation in the future. This possibility further enhances its appeal as a collectible and investment.

Factors that make it a good investment

Hibiki 21's exceptional taste, rarity, and increasing demand make it an attractive investment for whisky collectors and enthusiasts. The various limited editions and packaging options add to its allure, as collectors seek to acquire the different releases.

Navigating the Auction Process for Hibiki 21

Steps to sell Hibiki 21 at an auction

When selling Hibiki 21 at auction, it's important to choose an auction house with extensive experience in determining the value of the bottle and a strong network of potential buyers who are interested in the whisky. It's also essential to research reputable auction houses, understand their fees and terms, and provide detailed information about the bottle's condition and provenance. Therefore, selecting an auction house that has experience in valuing and auctioning whisky with a proven track record of successful sales is crucial for a quicker sale and to achieve the best possible sale price.

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