From the birthplace of Japanese Whisky, Yamazaki® 55 – now available in select global markets – honours 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.
LONDON, UK (9th September 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 Kingdom, United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan later this month. Yamazaki 55 will be available to purchase in Harrods, Claridge’s and The Arts Club.
To honour 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, totalling $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 colour; 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 excluding VAT and duties. Yamazaki 55 will be available to purchase in Harrods, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Master of Malt.
Yamazaki 55 will also be available in The Arts Club, Annabel’s and Claridge’s. 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.
whisky.suntory.com #SuntoryWhisky @SuntoryWhisky
Highland Park single malt Scotch Whisky has launched a special edition whisky, Valfather, the final part of the Viking Legend series inspired by the Orkney based distillery’s Viking history.
The trilogy highlights the journey to Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world and has inspired the packaging and taste profiles of the whiskies created by Highland Park’s master whisky maker, Gordon Motion.
Valfather, named after Odin, the mightiest of the Norse Gods, is the distillery’s most peated release to date. Created using whisky matured in refill casks to reflect the ethereal and lighter feel of Valhalla, Odin’s hall, the whisky’s higher phenolic level displays Odin’s power.
Gordon Motion, master whisky maker, Highland Park, said: “Valfather and the whiskies in the Viking Legend series uses more of our heavily peated malt, making the series more like cousins, rather than a brother or sister to the core range. Overall, this whisky is the richest and smokiest in taste profile compared to the rest of the series and our classic whiskies.
“As well as our hallmark aromatic peat smoke, it tastes of creamy vanilla, toasted cedar wood with a long floral aromatic finish offset by notes of crisp apple and sweet fragrant pear.”
The Viking Legend series rise in phenolic level throughout the collection and each have their own distinctive taste profile. Valkyrie the first in the series, uses predominantly European sherry seasoned oak, while Valknut uses American sherry seasoned oak and Orkney’s tartan barley.
Inspiration for the packaging design came from the ancient picture stones from Stora Hammars in Gotland, Sweden. The brand has partnered with Danish designer, Jim Lyndvild, to bring the collection to life.
Valfather will be released globally from August 2019. To find out more visit: www.highlandparkwhisky.com
9th August 2019 – Bowmore® Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced the release of Bowmore® 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition, a new expression from the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouse, the famous No.1 Vaults.
Featuring the mythical Chinese dragon, the 36-year-old whisky pays homage to the iconic Bowmore 30-Year-Old Sea Dragon, which celebrated a famous myth of Islay. Renewing this tradition, the new expression celebrates the mythical creatures that live on in Chinese culture today.
The first of a series of four, the 36-Year-Old liquid has been specially selected from the same parcel of sherry casks used to create the iconic Bowmore 30-Year-Old Sea Dragon, exclusively released to Asia in 2006. Born and shaped by time, the mythical dragon featured on the bottling ensures balance in everything – just like Bowmore’s master distiller. With only 888 bottles available, matched with the pedigree of the iconic 30-Year-Old Sea Dragon, this incredible expression will be highly prized and sought after from whisky enthusiasts across China.
The 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition is an exquisite example of Bowmore’s rich fruit and smoke house style. With a rich dark natural colour, the whisky offers aromas of tropical fruit, toffee apple and caramelised orange with a hint of pine needle scent. It finishes with a floral and peppery tinge, balanced by oak spices and a touch of iodine. This carefully crafted single malt is best savoured neat or over ice.
David Turner, Bowmore® Distillery Manager, comments: “This new expression is a homage to the 30-Year-Old Sea Dragon that’s been much loved and collected by Bowmore fans across China. Born from an island that is rich with heritage and legends, Bowmore is celebrating the legendary creatures of Chinese mythology that are the protectors of people – just as Bowmore has protected and matured this precious liquid for 36 years. We’ve taken this amazing legacy and renewed it for the next generation of whisky drinkers”.
John Lomas, Prestige Director Beam Suntory, stated: “Bowmore is an incredible single malt with an iconic legacy. Today it continues to create some of the finest whisky in the world. With this new release of Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon edition, we are renewing this story for the next generation. We believe the time we’ve invested in perfecting our craftmanship over the last 50 years is shown in the quality of our whisky producing, and we’re excited to share this.”
Bowmore® 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition will be exclusively available at Whisky L and through select outlets from August at $2000
Colour: (natural) Burnt Umber
Nose: Scented wood, cedar, beeswax, tropical fruit, toffee apple, old leather, coconuts, rich Demerara sugar, cinnamon, a touch of aniseed, liquorice, caramelised orange peels and ginger.
Palate: Dried fruits, sultanas, Corinth raisins, roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate.
Finish: Floral, peppery with oak spices and iodine.
Bottled at natural colour and strength
Loch Lomond Group has launched the Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition (46.8% ABV) in the UK, the oldest expression ever to be released from the now lost Littlemill distillery.
The precious liquid, distilled by what is rumoured to be one of the world’s oldest distilleries, is available now priced at £6,000. Only 250 bottles will be produced in total, making this a much sought-after collector’s item.
Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition celebrates the life’s work of Littlemill owner Duncan Thomas. The spirit represents the culmination of his knowledge and experience and captures the spirit of his pioneering distilling process.
The stunning presentation box captures an exact map of the night sky seen above Littlemill Distillery on the evening that the liquid was barrelled. Inside, the hand-faceted Glencairn Crystal decanter, each engraved with its unique bottle number, is finished with a solid brass stopper made in Glasgow. Each box also contains a 5cl vial of the 40 Year Old liquid, for those who would like to sample the whisky while keeping the bottle intact.
Duncan Thomas was a true pioneer of Scotch Whisky, pushing boundaries and introducing innovation that would long outlive him. One of his more lasting legacies was the introduction of the straight necked pot still with rectifying heads, that made it possible to create variations on each spirit he produced, allowing him to retain control of the character of the final liquid. This philosophy was embraced by Japanese distilleries in the East, and to mark this, the 40 Year Old box shows the star chart on the night that the spirit was laid to rest, charting the two paths of Duncan Thomas and Japanese Whisky experimentation.
Michael Henry, Master Blender at Loch Lomond Group, said: “The Littlemill 40 year old Celestial Edition is a fitting way to celebrate the legacy left by Duncan Thomas, and the truly exceptional liquid is worthy of his name.”
Rumoured to be one of the oldest in Scotland, and possibly even the world, the Littlemill distillery has a long and fascinating history. Officially established and producing whisky legally from 1772 in Bowling on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow, the distillery fell silent in 1994 and was subsequently destroyed by fire in 2004, never to produce a drop again.
Littlemill’s rich history includes a number of owners over its lifetime and it was notably one of the first distilleries to have a female licensee, Jane MacGregor, in 1823. In the 1930s, the distillery was known for triple distillation before moving to the more traditional double distillation now associated with Scotch whisky.
In 1931, under the stewardship of the American Duncan Thomas, Littlemill was at the forefront of still innovation with technical designs that could create three styles of single malts from full-bodied to light. These innovative stills provided the inspiration for the Loch Lomond Distillery, which was opened in the 1960s.
Rare amongst the Lowland malts in using a Highland water source, as well as peat from Stornoway and Perthshire, Littlemill whiskies are renowned for a subtly floral, vanilla-rich sweetness.
Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition is available to buy from specialists whisky stockists.
For further information visit www.lochlomondgroup.com
Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition Tasting Notes
Issued by Big Partnership on behalf of The Loch Lomond Group.
Each month we like to share with you the results of recent Whisky-Online auctions. As with every month there is always a great deal of excitement and intrigue as to how each featured lot will fair and featured below are just some of the results from their August online auction which Whisky-Online have been kind enough to share with us.
Our latest auction closed with more than a few surprises. Not least around the upper end of the sale where the top lot was, unsurprisingly, a hogshead of 1989 Macallan. However, with a hammer price of £70,200, it suggests that prices are beginning to cool off a little for bonded stocks of whisky, certainly in comparison to other recent results we’ve achieved for Macallan casks. Although, it’s worth remembering with this cask that the ABV was rather critically low, which no doubt was reflected in the price. Putting this in perspective, £70,200 is still way above what would have been, until very recently, considered standard market value for such a cask in bond.
On the flip side, £25,600 for a cask of 1994 Tobermory seems surprisingly expensive, even in today’s market, for a less widely lauded make such as Tobermory. Somewhat understandably cask 5015 was a butt and cask 39, which fetched £17,100 a hogshead, even though, that’s still a hefty price for 1994 Tobermory. Further evidence that no matter what cask you’re sitting on, if it’s got a bit of age to it, you could be in for a pretty nice surprise at auction. It’s certainly an easy way to capitalise without the hassle and cost of bottling.
On to the bottles and it was good to see Bowmore back at the top of the sale. The ‘coulours’ trilogy of Black, Gold and White seem rather unstoppable these days with respective prices of £18,700, £11,900 and £14,100. All of them outstripping even the Macallan 1946 at £11,100. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to taste one of these bottlings of Bowmore, it’s not hard to see where such intense prices come from. These are some of the best and most distinctive spirits ever made by human hand in these bottles.
One of the biggest surprises of this auction, at first glance, is the Springbank 1965 SMWS 27.7 which fetched a rather staggering £6100. Even for a 60s Springbank, this is eye-catching stuff. However, look a bit closer and do a bit of digging and it becomes a bit more understandable. This bottling hasn’t shown up at auction in years and, at 60.2%, it looks to be a pretty remarkable dram. There are numerous series collectors out there for all manner of SMWS bottlings these days so it’s hardly surprising that when such a tasty rarity surfaces, in today’s bullish market, competition is so fierce.
Other rather striking results which speak to the nature of today’s secondary market include the old 1960s official bottling of ‘Cardow 100% Pot Still‘ which finished up at £5800. Such a rarity in near immaculate condition was always destined to do well so in many ways this isn’t so surprising. Although it is a sobering reminder of just how much of rich man’s game serious old and rare whisky has become.
Joining the Cardhu was the uber rare bottling of Macallan 12-year-old at 100 proof by Gordon & MacPhail bottled in 1971. There is a 15-year-old version of this which is slightly more common, but the 12 is indeed the definition of scarcity. This pristinely preserved version deserved its £5100 hammer price. What’s more, it was nice to see a non-official Macallan take one of the top Macallan spots in the auction for once. For serious whisky lovers, this is a dream bottling.
Speaking of dream bottles, perhaps the most beautiful examples in this sale were the pair of Taliskers bottled in the 1950s by Wolverhampton & Dudley. Examples have shown up in the distant past at auction, but to find two such perfect examples today is really like being handed something out of a time warp. Little wonder they fetched £4600 a piece. The kind of bottle you’d kill to taste.
Other bottles in the upper end of the sale that stuck out were the official Springbank 1965 Local Barley for £3000. Looking at the prices of 60s Springbanks in general, both here, elsewhere and at retail. It seems there is something of a pretty serious upward shift in prices occurring across the board. I doubt it’ll be long before we start to see these kinds of bottles regularly break the five-figure barrier.
The 50-year-old 1949 Glen Grant by Ian MacLeod at £2900 was a solid result for this bottling. While the Glenugie 1966 by The Bottlers for £2700 was also seriously impressive. Glenugie is another name which is currently rocketing skywards in price. For anyone who has tasted some of these 60s Glenugies, it is hardly surprising.
Dalmore 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lagavulin 1979 38 year old by the Syndicate and the Laphroaig 19.0 anniversary bottling all hit the £2000 on the head. For the Lagavulin, it was the first time it had gone this high, which suggests a slow and steady climb even higher from here on out. The Dalmore result shows this distillery still had some serious clout at auction, even for what might be considered less impressive bottlings like the 1973. And for the Laphroaig, it’s generally a case of rarity with this bottling. Most were consumed upon release due to the lottery system under which it was sold. Whenever it shows up at auction there is usually a bit of a scuffle to get it.
Some other notable results above the £1000 mark were the Bunnahabhain 1968 Auld Acquaintance at £1350, how long before this great bottling hits the £2000 mark? A Macallan 1962 Cadenhead Dumpy looks almost cheap at the same price of £1350 however, considering its quality and scarcity. And rounding off the £1350 club was the Ardbeg 17-year-old Cadenhead Dumpy. A natural if slightly soft price for this equally historic bottling.
The Isle of Skye 50-year-old showed good progress cracking the £1000 mark for the first time, while the Bowmore Sea Dragon 30-year-old conversely seemed a tad soft at £1300. Dipping below the four-figure mark it was lovely to see two stunningly preserved old blends, the Benmore Liqueur Scotch Whisky and the Duffs Liqueur Scotch, both hitting an understandable £975 a piece.
Looking through the rest of the auction there were many impressive results. Too many to mention. Notable examples would be the two Oban 16-year-old Bicentenary Manager’s Drams at £925 apiece, outstripping even the official Oban 1969 at £850. Similarly, the pair of Ord 16-year-old Manager’s Drams for £600 a piece lent further weight to the continued upward march of the early Manager’s Drams series.
Beyond that, almost every lot was hitting its market value. Normally it’s possible to pinpoint one or two notable bargains or stand out anomalies. However, on this occasion, it really was a case of slim pickings. It seems that, in this day and age where more and more people are migrating their spending from retail to auction, prices are only solidifying, even at the £30-60 range of an auction. Interesting times…
Are you of legal drinking age in the country where you reside?
© Copyright Malt Marketing