Close Menu

Beam Suntory brings Ardray to the US

Ardray blended Scotch received an artful rollout at New York’s St Luke’s Townhouse.

Bottle of scotch in front of modern art
Guests enjoyed Ardray blended Scotch alongside modern art pieces at the West Village event

On a warm September night, Beam Suntory brought its newest whisky, Ardray blended Scotch, to New York’s West Village. Whisky drinkers filled St Luke’s Townhouse, where works by ceramicist Olivia Cognet, glass artist John Hogan and wood sculptor Casey McCafferty were on display throughout the multi-level dwelling-turned-gallery space.

But there was liquid art to consider as well. Beam Suntory has a rich portfolio of Bourbons, Scotches and Japanese whiskies, and has been expanding its blended offerings in recent years. In 2019, it launched Ao, a world blend, but, other than Teacher’s, the spirits giant still lacked a beloved blended Scotch – one of the most popular whisky categories in the world. Enter Ardray, which blends whiskies from Beam distilleries like Laphroaig, Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch and Ardmore, with Edrington-owned brands like The Macallan, Highland Park and Glenrothes, and others.

“There was obviously an opportunity, we felt, to create a blended Scotch whisky that celebrated the terroir of Scotland, the rich character of some of the component whiskies, as well as the artistry of blending,” Jamie MacKenzie, Beam Suntory’s director of advocacy, said. “Scotch whisky – it does have a little bit of a dusty perception. What we’re hoping we’ll be able to do is reignite some enthusiasm for blended Scotch whisky among whisky enthusiasts.”

Off the Rocks

Guests were welcomed with an Ardray Highball but, as the night progressed, they were welcomed to the back courtyard to experience Ardray ‘Off the Rocks,’ by which the 48% ABV whisky is poured over an ice sphere for eight seconds, allowing a slight chill without any dilution. 

An ice sphere hovers above a glass of whisky
The Off the Rocks serve sees Ardray poured over an ice sphere for eight seconds

“It took us three years to make the whisky neat, and there was a lot of effort,” chief Scotch blender Calum Fraser said. “That allows you to have a chilled whisky, at reasonably high proof that, when you sip it, would really interact with the warm palate, and the flavours within the whisky just explode out.”

Fraser worked alongside Beam Suntory’s Japanese blending team to create Ardray, saying that with few exceptions, the brand’s whisky makers haven’t fully explored the world of collaboration. In 2019, it launched Legent, bridging Bourbon and Japanese whisky-making practices. Ardray is the latest example of what their collective expertise can create.

“One thing that we haven’t really done – and we are starting to look to do – is collaborate, share best practice, learn [from] each other. Ardray, to an extent, is very much the genesis of collaborating between two areas of expertise,” Fraser said. “That opportunity to collaborate between two different areas of the company hasn’t really been in place before, especially in the context of Scotch.”

Guests dined on a raw bar of oysters and more, while exploring a variety of Compartes chocolate pairings. For Fraser and MacKenzie, Ardray isn’t just a foray into blended Scotch, but a chance to reframe the entire category, challenge preconceptions and present a non-chill filtered, natural colour whisky that balances robust flavours with approachability. 

“We’ve brought that all together to create a whisky which, for me, stands out among the crowd, and I appreciate that blended Scotch whisky has been in existence for a long period of time,” Fraser said. “There [are] several out there. We have looked to create something really unique, that is accessible to everyone.”

Priced at US$85, Ardray is currently available in Los Angeles, New York, London and Shanghai. The whisky was first announced in June of 2023.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No