Beam Suntory has released a new Suntory whisky, matured in casks made from Japanese Mizunara wood.
Mizunara – or Japanese oak – is a “rare and demanding tree” that heralds a new era in cask-making and creates flavours never before tasted in whisky, Suntory said.
The result, labelled the Yamazaki Mizunara 2017 Edition, is “tantalisingly spicy, redolent of incense and uniquely Japanese”. It will be available from October, made at Beam Suntory’s Yamazaki site – the oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan.
In the development of the new Yamazaki blend, Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo tasted a few hundred Mizunara whiskies and made selections with varying ages, from 18 years old and beyond. Some even exceeded 50 years in maturation, which give this limited edition “an incomparable depth” and a flavour that lingers long after the first sip.
Fukuyo was after “the exquisite balance of subtlety, refinement and complexity that is the hallmark of all Suntory whiskies,” the company said. According to Suntory, Fukuyo knew that Yamazaki Mizunara 2017 would not be intended for a familiar, relaxing moment.
“I wanted to reveal the whisky’s soul that is the ‘Art of Mizunara’ – a heightened sense and awakened palate engaged through aromas and flavours never known before,” he said. “Encountering it should be a moment of epiphany.”
Deep amber in colour, the blend is described as “rich and elegant” on the nose with aromas of aloe wood and cinnamon, plus condensed sweetness and a silky texture on the palate. The finish is characterised by a lingering and distinctive spiciness with Japanese incense, aloe wood, cinnamon and tartness.
The whisky is bottled at 48% ABV and packaged in a special wooden box, which is made using cask material used in the ageing process of Suntory whiskies.
But consumers will need deep pockets in order to get a taste: Yamazaki Mizunara 2017 Edition will retail with a suggested price of $1,000 per 750ml bottle.
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