Japanese whisky fans, take note. It is reported that two of Suntory’s most popular bottles – the Hakushu 12 Years Old single malt and Hibiki 17 Years Old blended whiskies – will be taken off the market soon. The reason for the suspension is because, thanks to the rise in whisky popularity globally, demand has exceeded supply, resulting in a shortage of stock.
Domestic sales within Japan of Hakushu 12 could be halted as early as June this year, while sales of Hibiki 17 could be suspended by September. With regard to overseas distribution, sales will be halted as soon as inventories run out.
This news has sent a shockwave through the whisky community. At the time of writing, a quick check on Amazon revealed that Hakushu 12 (700ml) is going for a premium price of ¥81,000 (about USD730), while Hibiki 17 is fetching ¥77,000 (about USD695).
According to statistics from the National Tax Administration Agency, domestic consumption of whisky has risen in recent years. Demand has continued to surge for the last decade or so: 83.32 million litres were consumed in 2005, and that increased to 94.29 million litres in 2010, and 135.45 million litres in 2015.
Japanese whiskies are revered as one of the best in the world, with many travellers seeking out Japanese whiskey bars when they visit the country. It is still uncertain at this point in time when production and sales will resume for these two iconic Japanese whiskies.
Looking to sample Japanese whiskies while you’re in Tokyo, check out these top whisky bars.