For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.
Shinjiro Torii, the father of Japanese Whisky founded Suntory in 1923 by opening the first distillery in Japan, called Yamazaki. Shinjiro, who started out as a pharmaceutical wholesaler and later wine importer had found his passion for Whisky after discovering the wonders of the ageing process of spirits.
The distillery and indeed the passion for Whisky has been passed down to Shinjiro’s second son, Keizo Saji, who had a bold vision, one where he saw the Japanese people falling in love with premium single malt Whisky and as such he embarked on a journey to introduce it to the market. Rapid economic growth of Japan in the 1970s helped him succeed. As Keizo who was never one to become complacent with the status quo he renovated the Yamazaki distillery in 1989, and outfitted it with both wooden and stainless steel wash backs, as well as directly and indirectly heated stills, thus better equipping the distillery to make a much wider range of single malt Whiskies. This was right before the golden age of premium Whiskies.
Keizo’s son, Singo Toriii, who had taken over a few years ago continues with the spirit of reinvention at the Yamazaki distillery, by switching to small pot still in 2006 in order to produce a variety of high quality straight malts with a depth and richness that could withstand long periods of ageing.
The Yamazaki 18 Year Old is aged in a mixture of ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry and Japanese Mizunara oak. It has won numerous accolades and awards, including 5 consecutive Double Gold awards at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. Most definitely one of the top Japanese Whiskies. Japan-o-Whisky-philes rejoice!
18 Year Old