From the birthplace of Japanese Whisky, Yamazaki® 55 – now available in select global markets – honors the legacy of three generations of Master Blenders and celebrates its harmony with nature with a donation for every newly released bottle to The White Oak Initiative.
CHICAGO, IL (September 9, 2021) - In the much anticipated first-ever global release of the Yamazaki® 55, the House of Suntory pays tribute to the passage of time and the legacy of the founding family of Japanese whisky. Bottled in 2020, Yamazaki 55 – the House of Suntory’s oldest release in its history – celebrates the Japanese “Showa” era of the 1960s that represented a major period of change for the House of Suntory.
Extremely limited quantities of Yamazaki 55, of which 100 bottles were initially released in Japan in 2020, will reach select global markets including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mainland China and Taiwan later this month.
To honor its ongoing commitment to give back to society, Beam Suntory, will donate $5,000 USD for every bottle released in this year’s 100-bottle collection, totaling $500,000 USD, to The White Oak Initiative, a group committed to the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak forests.
Yamazaki 55 is a blend of precious single malts featuring components distilled in 1960 under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii and then aged in Mizunara casks; and in 1964 under Suntory’s Second Master Blender Keizo Saji and then aged in White Oak casks. Suntory’s Fifth-Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo worked closely with Third-Generation Master Blender Shingo Torii in deploying their signature art of blending to properly reveal the exceptional depth, complexity and wisdom that is Yamazaki 55. The resulting expression features a deep amber color; robust aroma redolent of sandal wood and well-ripened fruit; sweet, slightly bitter and woody palate; and slightly bitter yet sweet and rich finish.
“Throughout the process of blending Yamazaki 55, I used as inspiration the passage of time and ‘Wabi-sabi’ – the Japanese belief that imperfections can help to ultimately contribute to perfection,” said Fukuyo. “While I often view other extra aged whiskies as art, I consider Yamazaki 55 to be more like a Buddhist statue: calm and mysterious, requiring time to truly enjoy the inner beauty.”
Yamazaki 55 is presented in a crystal bottle with the word “Yamazaki” carefully engraved in calligraphy using the technique of sandblasting and featuring real gold dust and lacquer on the age marking. The bottle’s opening is wrapped in handmade Echizen washi paper and bound with a Kyo-kumihimo plaited cord, a traditional craft from Kyoto. Each bottle is delivered in a bespoke box made from native Japanese Mizunara wood and coated with Suruga lacquer.
Tasting Notes – Yamazaki 55, 46% ABV
Color: Deep amber distinctive of Mizunara casks.
Nose: A robust aroma redolent of sandal wood. A sweet, mature bouquet like well-ripened fruit.
Palate: A soft, smooth first sip that blossoms in the mouth with flavor. A mixture of sweet and slightly bitter, followed by a woody note from the Mizunara cask.
Finish: Slightly bitter, a fragrance like scented wood and a hint of smokiness. A sweet, rich, lingering finish.
Yamazaki 55 will be available in extremely limited quantities starting this month at a suggested retail price of $60,000 USD. This limited-edition expression joins Yamazaki’s portfolio of award-winning whiskies including Yamazaki® 12, Yamazaki 18® and Yamazaki 25®.
From Yamazaki. Birthplace of Japanese whisky.
The Yamazaki Distillery is Japan’s first and oldest malt whisky distillery, built starting in 1923 by Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii. Yamazaki is not only the soul place of Suntory Whisky. It is the birthplace of Japanese Whisky.
Inspired by traditional Scottish whisky, it is said that Torii selected the land of Yamazaki at the foot of Mt. Tennozan, for its high-quality water source and natural environment, both of which are ideal for whisky making. Nestled proudly on the periphery of Kyoto, the area around Yamazaki Distillery has been long referred to as “Minaseno” famous for its exquisite natural water, even mentioned in the Man’yoshu, the ancient anthology of Japanese poetry. Home to Sen no Rikyu, Master of “The Way of Tea” and his renowned “Rikyu no Mizu” (water of the imperial villa), the waters of Yamazaki are selected by the Ministry of Environment as one of Japan’s one hundred best natural mineral waters.
Yamazaki lies in a misty valley between Mt.Tennozan and Mt. Otokoyama, where the Katsura, Uji and Kizu rivers converge. Blessed with Japan’s rich four seasons, the diversity of this region’s temperature and humidity align to create the perfect conditions for the making of whisky.
ABOUT SUNTORY WHISKY
Since 1923, Suntory has been renowned as the pioneer of Japanese whisky for its House of Master Blenders and for their Art of Blending. Shinjiro Torii built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki, and the Suntory legacy continued with Torii’s son, Keizo Saji, Suntory’s second master blender who continued to establish distilleries including the Hakushu distillery. As the generations of Suntory’s master blenders carry on, Suntory Whisky remains committed to heritage and innovation. The House of Suntory Whisky has been named four-time Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge in London, UK (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014).
Suntory Whiskies are subtle, refined and complex. The portfolio includes two single malt whiskies: Yamazaki—Japan’s N°1 Single Malt, multi-layered and profound, Hakushu—verdant, fresh, and delicately smoky; and two blends: the noble blend, Hibiki—Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky and Suntory Whisky Toki.
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ABOUT BEAM SUNTORY
As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands, Suntory whisky Kakubin and Courvoisier cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent bourbon; Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Toki Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whisky; Canadian Club whisky; Hornitos and Sauza tequila; EFFEN, Haku and Pinnacle vodka; Sipsmith and Roku gin; and On The Rocks Premium Cocktails.
Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and vision of Growing for Good. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.