House of Suntory is preparing to release the world’s oldest Japanese whisky, Yamazaki 55 to markets across the globe. The Japanese drinks giants unveiled the 55-year-old whisky in June 2020, launching just 100 bottles into the Japanese market. In August 2020, one of those bottles set a new record for the most expensive Japanese whisky sold at auction, bringing in $795,000 USD at Bonhams Hong Kong.
Now Suntory is planning on a global release for the coveted expression, which will retail for a jaw-dropping $60,000 when it hit shelves (or safes) later this month.
Yamazaki 55 is a blend of single malts that includes components distilled in 1960 under the eye of Shinjiro Torii, who founded House of Suntory in 1923. The liquid was aged in mizunara casks before being moved to white oak casks in 1964 by Suntory’s second master blender, Keizo Saji.
Bottled at 46% ABV, the whisky delivers aromas of sandalwood and well-ripened fruit, while the palate features sweet and slightly bitter notes unfolding to a touch of wood from the mizunara cask. Rich and sweet, the finish continues this slight bitterness and brings a hint of smokiness.
“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 Fifth-generation chief blender Shinji 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.”
The bottling will be rolled out in the UK, US, mainland China and Taiwan extremely limited quantities in the coming weeks, and will be available for purchase at retailers including Harrods, The Whisky Exchange, and Master of Malt. It will also be served in London venues The Arts Club, Annabel’s and Claridge’s.
For every bottle purchased, House of Suntory owner Beam Suntory will donate $5,000 to The White Oak Initiative, a project dedicated to the conservation of white oak forests in the US.
For more information, head over to Suntory’s official website.
In July, the House of Suntory introduced a reformulated Yamazaki 25. With the new offering, the Japanese spirits giants “honor the birthplace of Japanese whisky, capturing and celebrating the pioneering roots of one of the world’s greatest whiskies,” says a press release.
In January, after a four year hiatus, Suntory reintroduced Yamazaki Limited Edition for 2021. The announcement from the Japanese spirits giant came at the same time as it announced the release of Hibiki Blossom Harmony.