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Yamazaki Distillery to reopen to public in November

Suntory Spirits is ready to reopen its renovated Yamazaki Distillery to the public with two new-look distillery tours planned.

Yamazaki Distillery revamp
A look inside: the renovated Yamazaki Distillery visitor centre

Located on the outskirts of Kyoto in Japan, the Japanese whisky distillery will reopen to the public on 1 November 2023.

In March this year, Suntory said it would invest 10 billion JPY (US$77 million) into its Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries to celebrate the company’s 100th whisky-making anniversary.

Shinjiro Torii began making whisky for Suntory at Yamazaki in 1923. Yamazaki Distillery was the first malt whisky distillery in Japan.

The renewed facilities include a new entrance, which has been transformed into a ‘forest’. Trees that grow in the surrounding mountain forests of Shimamoto-town and Oyamazaki-town near the distillery have been planted by the entrance.

The entrance gate has been made from reused copper from pot stills, while a new reception has been set up at the Whisky Museum.

The Yamazaki Whisky Museum remains on the grounds of the distillery and has been there since the distillery’s inception. The interior has been ‘enhanced’, with an aim to give visitors a sense of the attention to detail that goes into the company’s whisky production.

A tasting lounge will also be reopened, where visitors can sample whiskies, as well as component whiskies that are only available on site.

A bar counter has been fashioned from former pot stills and guests can look out at the ‘forest’ of Yamazaki through the windows.

New distillery tours

Yamazaki Distillery stills
The still house: guests will have a choice of two tours

The two new tours will include an 80-minute tour, called the Yamazaki Distillery Monozukuri Tour and Tasting, priced at 3,000 JPY (US$20).

The tour will walk visitors through the distillery where the Yamazaki single malt brand is made. The tasting will include Yamazaki single malt whisky, rare component single malt whiskies and a Yamazaki Highball. Furthermore, guests will leave with a Yamazaki tasting glass as a souvenir.

The second tour on offer will be the Yamazaki Distillery Monozukuri Prestige Experience, priced at 10,000 JPY (US$67).

The prestige tour will take visitors through the distillery – but also allow them to exclusively view limited manufacturing areas.

The tasting element of the tour will include 12-year-old Yamazaki single malt whisky, and rare component malt whiskies.

Those taking part in the tours must be aged over 20 years old.

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