The 9th September 2021 saw the much anticipated global premier of Yamazaki 55. It comes from the House of Suntory, a pioneer in the art of Japanese whisky-making since 1923. Now available in select international markets, the new release of a vintage blend reflects the Yamazaki brand’s harmony with nature; for every newly released bottle, a donation is being made to The White Oak Initiative.
Honouring the legacy of three generations of Master Blenders
The House of Suntory pays homage to the legacy of the founding family of Japanese whisky in Yamazaki 55. It’s the oldest release in its history (Yamazaki is Japan’s number one single malt), and is reminiscent of the Japanese “Showa” era of the 1960s – a major period of change for the house. A precious blend, this liquor was distilled in 1960, under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii. It was then aged in Mizunara casks, followed by White Oak casks. Suntory’s Fifth-Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo worked closely with Third-Generation Master Blender Shingo Torii using their signature blending skills to bring depth, complexity and wisdom to the resulting spirit.
Shinji Fukuyo says:
“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. 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.”
$500,000 donated to The White Oak Initiative
The vintage cask whisky was only bottled as recently as 2020, with 100 released in the house’s homeland. Now a very limited number are being made available in areas including the United Kingdom, United States, mainland China and Taiwan. In line with the brand’s commitment to giving back, Beam Suntory has committed to donating $5,000 for every one of the 100 bottles released in 2021’s collection – a grand total of $500,000 to The White Oak Initiative, an organisation working toward the long-term sustainability of the USA’s white oak forests.
Authentic artisan crafting
Presented in a crystal bottle, “Yamazaki” has been engraved using a combination of calligraphy and sandblasting. Real gold dust and lacquer mark the age, with the bottle’s opening wrapped in handmade Echizen washi paper and bound with a traditional Kyo-kumihimo plaited cord. Each of the bespoke boxes containing the bottles is made from native Japanese Mizunara wood, coated with Suruga lacquer.
Yamazaki 55 is deep amber in colour, with a nose of sandalwood and ripe fruit. It’s sweet, slightly bitter and woody to the taste, with a rich finish. Very limited-edition bottles will be available to purchase in Harrods, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Master of Malt, The Arts Club, Annabel’s and Claridge’s. It joins Yamazaki’s collection of award-winning whiskies including Yamazaki 12, Yamazaki 18 and Yamazaki 25.
Yamazaki 55 is available in extremely limited quantities at a suggested retail price of $60,000 USD excluding VAT and duties. Stockists include Harrods, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Master of Malt, The Arts Club and Claridge’s.