House of Suntory was the first Japanese whisky distillery, founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1899 under the business name Torii Shoten. Having spent his teens and young adult years learning the fine craft of liquor blending and developing a taste for Western liquor, Shinjiro aspired to create a blended whisky in the style of Scotch. He soon discovered, however, that European alcohol did not enchant the Japanese population the way it had him, so he instead set out to brew the first-ever Japanese whisky. In 1923, he opened the very first malt whisky distillery in Japan: Yamazaki.
Shinjiro and his descendants have continued to expand the business for 120+ years, and in 1989, the Hibiki line was released to commemorate the business’ (by that time known as Suntory) 90th anniversary. By this point, Suntory was operating two additional distilleries besides Yamazaki — the Hakushu and Chita distilleries. According to Gear Patrol, each expression in the Hibiki collection is actually a blend of multiple whiskies produced at each of Suntory’s three distilleries and is intended to represent the full bouquet of tasting notes for which the individual distilleries are renowned.
Many varieties have graced liquor store shelves over the years, but Japanese Harmony was not introduced until 2015 after the extremely popular Hibiki 12 Year was discontinued, and stocks grew low on the famous Hibiki 17 Year. Because Japanese Harmony has no age statement, it’s easier to produce than Suntory’s aged liquors, and it quickly became a fan favorite after its release.