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Suntory debuts anniversary whiskies

To mark its centenary this year, the House of Suntory has released Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt and an 18-year-old Yamazaki whisky aged in mizunara oak casks.

Suntory Yamazaki whisky
Suntory used Japanese mizunara oak for its new 18-year-old Yazamaki whisky

Suntory was founded in 1923 by Shinjiro Torii who started making whisky at the Yamazaki distillery, located on the periphery of Kyoto in Japan.

Second-generation master blender Keizo Saji founded the Hakushu distillery in 1973, located in Hokuto in the Yamanashi prefecture.

The Japanese whisky producer has released the limited edition Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt, which are both bottled at 48% ABV.

Suntory used Japanese mizunara oak for its new 18-year-old Yazamaki whisky.

The House of Suntory first started experimenting with mizunara wood as early as the 1940s under the supervision of Torii and Saji.

The resulting liquid offers notes of dark cherry and ripe peach on the nose, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The palate is ‘subtly spiced’ with Japanese incense and a long and lingering finish, accentuated with clove, sandalwood, and hints of dried coconut.

“Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara was blended for our 100-year anniversary and features a rich texture created from a long ageing process,” said fifth-generation chief blender Shinji Fukuyo. “This expresses the delicate and meticulous attention to detail that went into its craftsmanship.”

Meanwhile, the new Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt is comprised of malt whiskies all aged for a minimum of 18 years. The new expression is said to offer a ‘new angle to the world of peated whisky’.

To make the whisky, Suntory used peated malt from the UK, including some that is heavily peated. The distiller used refill American oak casks in four sizes.

On the nose, the whisky offers notes of sage, ripe green apple, and hints of ripe pineapple. The palate brings a ‘complex smoky flavour’ with layers of herbal, grapefruit and acacia honey notes, and a smoky finish with undernotes of green citrus.

Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt offers a ‘new angle to the world of peated malt’

Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt is priced at RRP £1,275 (US$1,586) and Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara is priced at £1,600 (US$1,991).

The expressions are available from select retailers including Harrods, The Whisky Exchange and The Whisky Shop.

Limited edition bottles

In addition to the two new whiskies, Suntory has created limited edition labels for its 12-year-old Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies to commemorate its 100th anniversary.

The bottle design for Yamazaki 12 pays tribute to its production facility, which is the oldest malt distillery in Japan. The illustration features the distillery in deep copper tones from a low angle, looking up.

Meanwhile, the bottle design for the 12-year-old Hakushu captures the Hakushu Distillery in soft hues of verdant green to represent the forest surrounding the site.

Both expressions are bottled at 43% ABV and carry a price tag of £200 (US$249) each.

The House of Suntory is also inviting fans to join its new global membership programme. Members can find out about new releases, receive priority consideration for invitations to consumer experiences, learn news from the distilleries, gain early access to content and more.

Last month, the House of Suntory partnered with actor Keanu Reeves and filmmaker Sofia Coppola on a new centenary campaign.

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