Renowned Japanese whisky maker Suntory is gifting the world with its oldest release yet but at a much higher price than when it was initially released in Japan.
A taste of history: The Yamazaki 55, the oldest single malt Japanese whisky release in House of Suntory’s history, has a “deep amber color; robust aroma redolent of sandalwood and well-ripened fruit; sweet, slightly bitter and woody palate; and slightly bitter yet sweet and rich finish,” according to a press release.
- In 2020, the company initially released just 100 bottles of the 55-year-old whisky, which were sold via a form of lottery for $27,000 (or 3 million yen), Forbes reported.
- Later that year, a Yamazaki 55 bottle was purchased for around $795,000 at an auction.
- According to the company, the release honors the legacy of “three generations of Master Blenders” as well as “the founding family of Japanese whisky.”
- Components of the blend were “distilled in 1960 under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii and then aged in Mizunara casks; and in 1964 under Suntory’s Second Master Blender Keizo Saji and then aged in White Oak casks. Suntory’s Fifth-Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo worked closely with Third-Generation Master Blender Shingo Torii.”
- Fukuyo said that during the blending process of Yamazaki 55, he was inspired by “the passage of time and ‘Wabi-sabi’ – the Japanese belief that imperfections can help to ultimately contribute to perfection.”
- He added that he considers the resulting expression to be more like a “Buddhist statue: calm and mysterious, requiring time to truly enjoy the inner beauty.”
Highly anticipated release: This month, limited quantities of Yamazaki 55 will be available in the U.S., the U.K., Mainland China and Taiwan with the same allocation and packaging, but at a more expensive price of $60,000.
- Beam Suntory, the American subsidiary of the Japanese company, has pledged to donate $5,000 for every bottle in the 100-bottle international release to the White Oak Initiative. This organization works to ensure white oak forests’ long-term sustainability in the U.S.
- The official tasting notes said the expression treats the palate to a “mixture of sweet and slightly bitter, followed by a woody note from the Mizunara cask.”
- Yamazaki 55 reportedly has a “slightly bitter, a fragrance like scented wood and a hint of smokiness,” which amounts to a “sweet, rich, lingering finish.”
- According to Robb Report, the initial sip from the whisky provides a “shock, soft and rich, almost rum-like in its sweetness, which transitions beautifully into Yamazaki’s characteristic tropical fruit notes. Then, a mildly bitter nuttiness with strong hints of smoked wood leading into a long, lingering finish, sweet and lightly smoky.”
Featured Image via The Whisky Wash