Most whiskies are blends of different batches all made in the same locale—or at least in the same country. Suntory is breaking that tradition and marrying the whiskies of five countries into one—their new Ao whisky.
Ao blends whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, America, Canada, and Japan. No details have been released about the whisky (other than the countries of origin for the different ingredients), but it is said to have a sweet aroma with a full-bodied taste that has a slightly smoky finish.
Suntory will be releasing Ao April 16, 2019. This particular expression from the famous distillers is bottled at 43 per cent ABV, and will sell for 5,000 yen.
“Blue” in Japanese, Ao is also the colour of the sea and is what connects the five different countries represented in the blend.
The bottle carries on that symbolism with its pentagonal shape. Suntory isn’t the first to blend whiskies from other countries; Diageo released Huxley, a blend of three whiskies from Scotland, Canada, and the United States, in 2016. The announcement of Ao follows up on last summer’s announcement that the Osaka-based company would be pulling some of the 12, 17, and 21 year old single malts from stores as their aging barrels dried up.
Blending 5 whiskies into one may be their approach to addressing the shortage that resulted.