Suntory Celebrates 100 Years Of Japanese Whisky With Premium Bottles

While Scotch whisky may trace its roots back to the 15th century, whisky distilling is a much more recent endeavor in Japan. According to Food & Wine, when Shinjiro Torii established the House of Suntory in 1923, he said, "I'm taking up the challenge of making whisky in Japan because no one else is even trying." Torii was, by any measure, wildly successful, and the House of Suntory now counts among its brands whiskies like Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki, and Toki.

In celebration of reaching the century mark for its distilling tradition, Suntory is releasing two new ultra-premium whiskies with distinct flavor profiles for a limited time: Yamazaki 18-year-old Mizunara, which will retail for roughly $1500 per bottle and Hakushu 18-year-old Peated Malt, which will fetch approximately $1200 per bottle. These single malt whiskies celebrate not only the 100th anniversary of Suntory but also the qualities that make Japanese whiskies and their respective distilleries stand out. 

What's special about Suntory's anniversary bottles?

Suntory counts a Yamazaki 18-year-old whisky among its existing offerings, but that spirit is aged in a combination of American, Spanish, and Japanese Mizunara oak. The anniversary bottling rests exclusively in Mizunara oak for a true Japanese expression in the form of the characteristic spice notes that solely come from this type of wood. Bottled at 48% ABV, the whisky delivers notes of clove, nutmeg, peach, and tropical fruit.

The Hakushu 18-year-old Peated Malt is a wildly different expression of Japanese whisky. It is made at the Hakushu distillery, located at a high elevation in the Japanese Alps, and its smoky flavor doesn't evoke the peatiness of an Islay Scotch; rather it's a gentler and refined version, one riddled with notes of apple, citrus, and a hint of spice. The anniversary Hakushu is also bottled at 48% ABV, and Food & Wine describes it as "a balanced interplay between a barbecue-forward bouquet and a palate that sings with subtle sweetness; think orchard fruit kissed with wildflower honey."