Part 3 of 4 on Japanese Whisky
As mentioned in the last Shot!, Shinjirō Torii is one of the two founding fathers of Japanese whisky.
Originally an owner of an import wine business, Torrii’s passion for strong booze ultimately lead to him building the first malt whisky distillery, Yamazaki, in 1923. 5 years later the Spirit was ready for the market, making Suntory the first Japanese whisky.
Suntory Distilling Co. was originally called Kotobukiya. The name was changed to Suntory in 1963; a clear homage to the whisky produced at the Yamazaki distillery.
A small ripple in time…World War 2!…caused a disruption in Japan and production stopped for a number of years. In 1946 the whisky returned with a vengeance. By the early 1970’s, Suntory added two more distilleries to expand the production variety: Hakushu Distillery, located in the Japanese Southern Alps, and Chita Distillery, located on the Chita Peninsula. Together with the original Yamazaki distillery, this triad produces the sweet juice found on shelves today.
As the Japanese art of distillation was learned in Scotland, there are numerous similarities in Suntory’s whisky offerings: Single Malt (Yamazaki), a peated Single Malt (Hukushu), a single grain whisky (Chita), and a blended whisky (Hibiki).
Suntory Whiskies to know…
Yamazaki Single Malt. This is Suntory flagship product…and excellent. It comes in four varieties: 12, 18, 25, and Distiller’s Reserve.
Hakushu. A more smoky, peated whisky. Also available in four varieties: 12, 18, 25, and Distiller’s Reserve.
Chita. A smooth, Single Grain Whisky.
Hibiki. blended of malt and grain whiskies. 17, 21, 20, Japanese Harmony, and Japanese Harmony Master’s Select.
Jim Beam…Hold on What? Are you drunk?! Jim Beam is American as apple pie! In 2014 Suntory purchased Beam Inc. and now owns Jim Beam. Suntory has undertaken a name change to Beam Suntory; making it the third largest spirits producer in the world.
Boom! Another shot of knowledge!