Limited to 100 pieces.
A Bizen yaki whisky glass made through the traditional art of Bizen yaki.
Drinking beer and wine in Bizen yaki gives it a new taste.
What about whisky then? How would it affect its flavor and aroma?
These questions led to the coming together of Bizen yaki potter Kyo Isezaki; the nephew of a Living National Treasure, Seiichi
Koshimizu; Former Chief Blender of Suntory and master calligrapher Tansetsu Ogino; who inked the bold yet delicate letter of 響 onto the label of the iconic whisky. It was this meeting which led to the
creation of the Bizen yaki whisky glass.
The Story of「Hihaku」- The Bizen yaki Whisky Glass.
What is Bizen yaki?
Bizen yaki, also known as Bizen ware, boasts a rich history of over 1000 years and was designated as a Japan Heritage in 2017.
A form of pottery which originated in the Bizen province in Okayama Prefecture, Bizen yaki is unique in that it does not use any form of glaze. Once the fired, the kiln is fed pinewood
non-stop for 7 to 14 days, and this process combined with the controlled heat and movement of the ashes within the kiln creates individual dishes which are truly unique and
How Bizen yaki affects the Flavor of What it Contains.
The particles of the clay used to make Bizen yaki is extremely fine and contains countless stomata, and this makes Bizen yaki suitable for storing food and water while keeping it fresh.
“Drinking beer and wine in Bizen yaki gives it a new taste.”
Fans of drinking from Bizen yaki all share this sentiment and it is also common for people in Japan to have a favorite Bizen yaki sake cup to drink Japanese sake from.
The Meeting of Seiichi Koshimizu and Bizen yaki.
In order to find the answer to this question, Seiichi Koshimizu visited Isezaki Kyō, the nephew of a living national treasure artist of Bizen-yaki pottery, to learn about the manufacturing process of Bizen-yaki and to also learn of common points between Bizen-yaki and whisky making.
Bizen-yaki pottery is shaped using clay and then placed in a kiln, but the way it is fired varies depending on the location of this kiln, and this makes it virtually impossible to make two identical pieces.
This is similar to the aging process of whisky, where even the same new-make spirit will not produce the same whisky depending on the location the aging barrels are placed. In other words. in both Bizen-yaki and whisky making, the final product is determined by its location and the craftsman who oversees and masterminds the production.
How Does Bizen yaki Affect the Flavor and Aroma of Whisky?
Koshimizu silently took a sip of whisky from the Bizen yaki glass and stated, "The flavor changes from the moment it is poured, the edges become smoother, and the taste becomes more rounded."
The reason for the change is uncertain, but Bizen yaki is known for not using glaze on its surface. So it can be speculated that some kind of change occurs when the alcohol contained in the whisky comes into direct contact with the fired clay.
The Design and Planning of the Bizen yaki Whisky Glass by Izesaki and Koshimizu.
Traditionally, whisky has been enjoyed for its taste, aroma, and color. However, in Bizen yaki, its color cannot be seen and enjoyed.
Nevertheless, there are many other ways to enjoy whisky. The tactile sensation of holding the Bizen whisky glass and feeling its earthy texture provides the holder with a real sense of comfort. It is also suitable to use for drinking whisky as a hot beverage and this is definitely another fun way of enjoying whisky.
To ensure that its owner has a comfortable drinking experience, Isezaki utilized all his skills to thin out the rim of the glass to its very limit. This resulted in a glass shaped much like the "Glencairn Whisky Glass ," which is used and enjoyed by many whisky enthusiasts when comparing various whisky flavors.
Hidasuki: A fiery red design and pattern which represents Bizen yaki.
There are several types of firing techniques used in the making of Bizen yaki, each resulting in different patterns and colors. The parts exposed to the flames turn reddish-brown, the areas covered with ash turn black, and the border in between turns bluish-gray. The firing technique chosen for our first Bizen whiskey glass is called "Hidasuki."
HIdasuki is characterized by a pattern of lines in red, brown, and vermilion that resemble a "tasuki" (a Japanese sash). The clay glass is wrapped in straw and placed in a "saya" (a container for firing pottery) for firing. As the flames and ash do not directly touch the glass, the entire piece is fired to a light brown hue close to the color of the original clay, and the areas where the straw come in contact with turn bright red.
The texture of the clay is felt gently yet fully by the hand that holds it, and its pattern seen by the eye is unmistakably that which represents Bizen yaki. This is how the world's first whisky glass made of Bizen yaki was born.
The Naming of「Hihaku」- The Bizen yaki Whisky Glass.
緋 Hi- which means “Fiery Red”, symbolizing the red-hot fire needed to create Bizen yaki, a true Japanese traditional art.
珀 -Haku which means “Amber”, the color of whisky.
Hibiki is perhaps the whisky most aficionados picture in their minds when thinking of blended Japanese whisky. And it is the same master calligrapher Tansetsu Ogino, who inked the bold yet delicate letter of 響 onto the label of the iconic whisky, who named this creation Hihaku 緋珀 and likewise inked its kanji characters.
A Masterpiece Created by 3 Cultural Icons.
This Bizen yaki whisky glass named 「Hihaku」was created for the purpose of expressing the true depth of Bizen yaki, one of Japan’s true traditional arts and as a brand-new approach of enjoying whisky in the spirit of 守破離 Shuhari. It is our hope that it is passed onto true whisky fans and those who love culture all over the world.
A concept which translates to “keep, break and transcend”.
守 SHU- which means “to keep traditional wisdom”,
破 -HA which means to break tradition after mastering it,
離 -RI which means to “transcend tradition and creating your own individual style”.
Bizen yaki Whisky Glass 緋珀 HIHAKU
Amount of Production: Limited to 100 pieces (Serial number assigned)
Product Name: Bizen yaki 緋珀 HIHAKU
Sales: Limited only to members of the online whisky community 「IN 韻」.
※ Sales limited to 100 pieces and will end as soon as sold out. A second run using a different manufacturing-process is being planned for the future, however there are no plans to manufacture Hidasuki-pattern Bizen yaki glass of the same shape.