Japanese whisky has long been regarded by both the Man of Many team and the world at large as some of the finest money can buy, and the House of Suntory is its unquestionable standard bearer on the international stage. Reaching its centenary in 2023, Suntory has accumulated an extraordinary wealth of expertise over the last 100 years, honing the craft of Japanese whisky through innovation and an unwavering devotion to achieving the perfect dram. This disciplined pursuit of an ideal has also resulted in a simultaneous accumulation of fans all over the globe, with Keanu Reeves among them. The Hollywood icon and advocate of all things authentic, has partnered with Suntory to celebrate this extraordinary milestone, along with the launch of several new limited-edition whiskies.
Reeves is not alone in his dedication to marking the Suntory century, joining forces with Academy Award-winning director Sofia Coppola in the creation of Suntory Time (watch above), a video tribute to the founding house of Japanese whisky that navigates the label’s rich history while looking to the future with great anticipation. With Reeves in front of the camera and Coppola behind it, Suntory Time is a unique exploration of what Suntory was, is, and will be.
Keeping that eye on the future while maintaining a reverence for its heritage is a balancing act Suntory has always managed with aplomb. This harmonious tension is perfectly embodied by a selection of new limited-edition whiskies launched for the landmark anniversary, highlighting the unparalleled craftsmanship of Suntory’s distilleries and the supreme mastery of the blending art contained therein.
These whiskies are sure to be warmly welcomed by lovers of the water of life and include the Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt, along with limited 100th anniversary labels of Suntory’s flagship Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old. Read on to discover more.
Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara
Seeking to highlight the very essence of the iconic Yamazaki distillery—established in 1923, making it Japan’s first malt whisky distillery—this expression gives Suntory’s flagship single malt the unique characteristics of highly sought-after Japanese Mizunara oak, in which the malt is aged exclusively.
The result is rich and elegant with notes of dark cherry and ripe peach on the nose, along with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. This is followed by layers of subtle spice with undernotes of Japanese incense on the palate and a lingering finish that’s accentuated with clove, sandalwood, and a touch of dried coconut.
Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt
We’ve seen peated whisky enjoy a welcome rise in profile recently and now this expression brings a new angle to the smoky side of things, combining a range of meticulously selected malt whiskies all aged for a minimum of 18 years
On the nose, this release features vibrant notes of sage, ripe green apple, and hints of ripe pineapple. As you’d expect, it has a smoky flavour, but one with a welcome complexity that reveals layers of herbal, grapefruit and acacia honey notes, while that smoky finish lingers long after you’ve sipped, with delicious undernotes of fresh green citrus.
Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old
If you’re a devotee of Suntory’s two flagship whiskies and can’t be swayed by the Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara or Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt, you can still join in on the anniversary fun.
The centenarian whisky house is releasing the Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old with limited 100th anniversary labels to mark the occasion, so you can enjoy the whiskies on which Suntory has built so much of its well-earned reputation while still marking the moment.
100 Years & Beyond
There’s already so much to celebrate about the House of Suntory’s first 100 years, but further excitement lies ahead. Not only do we have many more outstanding whiskies to look forward to, but Keanu Reeves will return to star in another creative project in partnership with the label; Reeves will feature in a series of documentary shorts from legendary filmmaker Roman Coppola entitled The Nature and Spirit of Japan.
The series will dive into Japanese whisky culture, exploring its harmony with nature (Wa), elevation of Japanese craftsmanship (Monozukuri) and enjoyment as an authentic Japanese cultural experience (Omotenashi).
In the meantime, we’re looking forward to enjoying some outstanding Japanese drams and drinking to the future of this storied and iconic house of whisky. Discover more about the House of Suntory via the link below.