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.
Yamazaki 55 will be available in extremely limited quantities starting this month at a suggested retail price of $60,000 USD. This limited-edition expression joins Yamazaki’s portfolio of award-winning whiskies including Yamazaki 12, Yamazaki 18 and Yamazaki 25.
To honor its ongoing commitment to give back to society, Beam Suntory, headquartered in Chicago, will donate $5,000 USD for every bottle released in this year’s 100-bottle collection, totaling $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 color; 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.