Suntory is Japan’s first whisky distillery and has been winning awards at the World Whisky Awards (WWA) since 2013. What makes Suntory so unique and distinct?
What is Suntory whisky?Inspired by Scottish whisky in 1899, Torii Shinjiro desired to create a subtle and refined whisky that would suit the delicate Japanese palate and enhance the dining experience. Suntory’s first distillery began in Yamazaki, known for its pure essence and quality of its pure water source, made from the filtration of rain and snow through granite rocks.
Is Suntory whisky or Scotch?Perhaps you are wondering if Japanese Whisky is scotch. By law, Scotch whisky must be distilled and matured in Scotland. Suntory’s whiskies are made in Japan. There are three distinct differences between the two.
IngredientsSuntory’s distilling is undertaken at a lower pressure in higher-altitude distilleries, creating a lighter-tasting whisky and then aged in Japanese Mizunara oak casks. This gives Suntory Whisky a slew of rich and exciting aromas. In Scotland, peat is used for drying the barley during the malting phase on lowlands.
Texture and ColourSuntory’s infamous Art of Blending produces a pale gold colour with a deep orange hue depending on how long it is aged. Scotch is generally brown and deepens with age.
TasteSuntory whisky has hints of honey-like sweetness, citrus, and spices, with a unique and distinct flavour, namely sandalwood and coconut. It finishes with sweet vanilla and a peaty smokiness similar to Scotch whisky.
Is Suntory whisky expensive?In 2010, the global demand for Japanese whisky rose, and so did its prices. Today, a bottle of Japanese whisky can be four times more expensive than a standard Scotch whisky!
Why is Suntory so expensive?Few reasons why Suntory whisky’s price is top-end.
Awards garner recognitionOver the years, various whiskies from Suntory’s Yamazaki distillery have earned many accolades. Proven and now sought by sommeliers, the award-winning whiskeys garner a higher price.
Collector’s itemThe 50-year-old Suntory Yamazaki old Japanese single malt whisky, also sought after as the Royal Suntory Whisky, set a world record when it sold for $299,000 in 2018, making it a perfect example of a collector’s treasure.
Closing of DistilleriesIn the 1980s, many distilleries closed when rice-based shochu became the drink of choice. With the combination of supply and demand and lack of production, whiskies aged 30 years and more are becoming a rarity and by extension, a sterling luxury.
TimeAgeing whiskies elicits the richness of the aged liquor, making them more valuable, and Suntory has proven to produce flawlessly timeless smooth blends of malt.
What makes Suntory so good?Producing their own grain whiskey with more than 110 styles of malt, Suntory’s products are not based on a single still shape or an individual malt’s characteristics. It’s truly all about the blend, and the blenders.
How does Suntory Whisky taste?In general, Suntory's whiskies are sweet with delicate honey and floral notes but not as sweet as bourbon. The coolness gives way to a smooth alcohol warmth, and hints of spicy pepper and ends delicately on the palate with a hint of vanilla oak.
Each blend is curated with these basics focusing on various hints. For example, Old Suntory Whisky has a surprisingly nice nose of dark berries, plums, and dates. The body is nicely peppered on the palate. The finish is medium-length, and sweet with delicious traces of smoke like Hakushu, making this an excellent sipping whisky.
How to drink Suntory whisky?A well-chilled highball is the best way to bring out the fullness of Suntory whiskies. Adding a lemon peel to its sides enhances the fragrance and makes it even more refreshing.
Food pairingSuntory Yamazaki whisky is rich in flavour, tasting of mature autumn fruit which makes it an interesting delight with steaks and desserts, like chocolate cake or the Taiyaki Adzuki bean paste.
Suntory Toki Whisky is best enjoyed as a cocktail or a highball mixed with soda water and a grapefruit peel.
Hibiki Harmony Suntory Japanese whisky, known for its aromatics of nutty, floral, fruity and earthy notes, is often savoured while smoking a cigar.
What are the Suntory Whisky Brands?The House of Suntory produces four award-winning varieties; Yamazaki, Hibiki, Toki and Hakushu.
Suntory Whisky YamazakiSuntory whisky reviews still mention the legendary Suntory single malt whisky Yamazaki 55 as unchallenged and honour the artistry of Suntory master blenders Shinji Fukuyo and Shingo Torii. Try expressions of the Yamazaki single malt whisky now.
HakushuSuntory's Hakushu single malt Japanese whisky is delicious and gently smoky packed with herbal notes. The Chita, a single-grain whisky completes the single distillery trio of Yamazaki and Hakushu creating the winning Hibiki blend.
HibikiPresented in a trademark 24-faceted bottle, Suntory Hibiki's light, and floral notes with enticing hints of orange peel and white chocolate is the immaculate blend of Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita.
TokiSuntory Toki is a sister blend of Hibiki, whose main components are Hakushu single malt and Chita grain whisky. This is a lighter, grassier end-of-cask influence but better blended.
Where to buy Suntory Japanese Whisky?Available in all four varieties, you can purchase authentic Suntory Japanese whiskey at Whisky.my.
For a relaxing time, make it Suntory time.The House of Suntory truly embodies a rich cultural experience and pilgrimage to Japan in every bottle. So, let us step into the world of Japan, with a glass of Suntory Whiskey.