This 30-Year Japanese Whisky Will Now Set You Back $2,425

A bottle of Japan’s Hibiki 30 is about to double in price. And it isn’t the only Suntory whisky that’s getting pricier as demand for Japanese whiskies shows no sign of slowing down.

Unseen Japan

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By Jay Allen

Hibiki 30 year

Whisky — particularly good whisky — can set you back a pretty penny. That’s certainly the case with Japanese whisky, which is enjoying a years-long boom. But that boom is taking a toll on supplies. That means that some of Japan’s most beloved aged whiskies are about to become an even rarer pleasure.

The Japanese whisky boom

Glass of whisky on the rocks
Picture: イグのマスタ / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Japanese whisky has been in high demand for years now. But that wasn’t always the case. Whisky brewing in Japan goes back 100 years as of this year. After a decades-long boom, manufacturers saw demand shrink in the 2000s.

In 2008, whisky manufacturers like Suntory looked for ways to make drinking popular again among the young. Alcoholic consumption is way down compared to previous years. That’s especially true among 20- and 30-somethings, who drink less and lean more towards a growing array of non-alcoholic options. That resulted in whisky consumption hitting a peak.

To combat that, Suntory sought to spark a whisky boom — mainly by promoting the kaku highball, or whisky in a tall glass of soda water. The campaign succeeded. The highball has since become a staple of izakaya and bars throughout the nation.

But Japanese whisky has also enjoyed a huge boom outside of Japan. Japanese whisky has been the number two alcohol export from Japan, right behind sake, for a number of years.

That increased demand means a more limited supply. That’s especially true for older whiskies which take a decade or more to age, as producers had no way of preparing for a boom 10+ years later.

In some cases, sales of certain lines of whisky have run out due to a lack of supply. In 2018, Suntory temporarily suspended sales of both Hibiki 17

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