The House of Suntory has announced the first-ever global release of Yamazaki 55.
Bottled in 2020, Yamazaki 55 — the House of Suntory’s oldest release ever — celebrates the Japanese “Showa” era of the 1960s, the company says, which represented a period of change for the House of Suntory.
Limited quantities of Yamazaki 55, of which only 100 bottles were initially released in Japan in 2020, reach select global markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mainland China and Taiwan later this month.
Additionally, Beam Suntory will donate $5,000 for every bottle released in this year’s 100-bottle collection, totaling $500,000, 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 single malts featuring components distilled in 1960 under the supervision of Suntory Founder Shinjiro Torii, and then aged in Mizunara casks; and also 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 with third-generation Master Blender Shingo Torii on Yamazaki 55. The resulting expression features a deep amber color, aroma redolent of sandal wood and well-ripened fruit, sweet, slightly bitter and woody palate and a slightly bitter yet sweet and rich finish, the company reports.
“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,” says 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 comes in a crystal bottle with the word “Yamazaki” 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 arrives in a bespoke box made from native Japanese Mizunara wood and coated with Suruga lacquer.
Yamazaki 55 is 46% ABV. It’s available in extremely limited quantities starting this month at a suggested retail price of $60,000 per 750-ml. bottle.