Suntory whiskey (サントリーウイスキ)

    different alcoholic drinks in Suntory

    Suntory Whiskey is an iconic name synonymous with the rich tradition and innovation of Japanese whiskey-making. Renowned for its diverse range of flavors and expressions, it captivates enthusiasts with its unparalleled taste and heritage. Now, let’s learn more about this type of whiskey.


    What is Suntory whiskey?

    Suntory whiskey two glasses

    Suntory is a big name in Japan when it comes to whiskey. They are considered pioneers in Japanese whisky production. They became a well-known Japanese beverage company that produces a variety of alcoholic beverages, including whiskey. Suntory Whiskey is renowned for its quality and craftsmanship, with several popular brands under its umbrella, such as Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki. Having founded the first-ever Japanese whisky distillery back in 1923. This suntory remains a leading producer of whiskey in Japan and a respected name in the global whiskey market.

    Suntory whiskey Origin

    Suntory distillery

    Suntory, a Japanese beverage company, was founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1899. Initially, it focused on importing and distributing Western liquors, wines, and other beverages. In 1923, Shinjiro Torii established the Yamazaki Distillery in Yamazaki, near Kyoto. This marked the beginning of whiskey production in Japan. They chose the location for its pure water source and favorable climate, similar to whiskey-producing regions in Scotland.

    Their first attempt, Suntory Shirofuda in 1929, wasn’t a hit, but it marked the beginning of their whisky adventure. Learning from Shirofuda’s reception, Suntory focused on crafting whisky suited to Japanese tastes – lighter and more delicate than Scotch. This led to the birth of Suntory Kakubin, a blended whisky that became a huge success and remains Japan’s top seller.

    Instead of replicating Scotch whiskies, Suntory focused on creating a lighter and more delicate style that resonated with Japanese palates. This led to the success of the iconic “Kakubin” blend launched in 1937. 1984 release of “Yamazaki 12 Years,” a pioneering single malt that helped put Japanese whisky on the world map. The brand celebrated their 100th anniversary last year, 2023.

    Differences in production and taste of three major whiskies

    We will explore the differences between the three most popular Japanese whiskies, Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki, which are extremely popular both domestically and internationally.


    Suntory whiskey yamazaki

    Yamazaki whiskey originates from the Yamazaki Distillery, where every bottle is exclusively crafted. Compared to blended varieties like Hibiki, each Yamazaki whiskey bears a distinct character due to the individuality of each distillery. Despite being single malt, variations arise due to differing water sources, raw materials, brewing methods, barrel materials, and processes, resulting in unique flavors. Yamazaki is renowned for its sweet taste, rich aroma, and smooth texture.


    Hakushu whiskey stands out for its utilization of exceptionally soft water, leading to a crisp, clean taste with a dry finish. Distinctive smoky notes emerge from the use of peat during the drying process of the ingredients. Initially, the smoky aroma might seem overwhelming, but over time, it becomes an acquired taste, elevating the overall experience.


    Hibiki, being a blended whiskey, offers a harmonious balance of flavors and renowned for its approachability. Despite its blended nature, Hibiki maintains a soft and luxurious mouthfeel, making it highly enjoyable. Crafted through the blending of various sake types, Hibiki embodies an artistic expression of Japanese craftsmanship, earning admiration worldwide.

    12 Recommended Suntory products

    Suntory drinks


    1. Suntory Single Malt Whiskey Yamazaki

    Delicate, complex, and deep flavor. They carefully select and carefully blend extremely rare malts. A representative single malt from Japan with a delicate and elegant taste.

    YamazakiAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 4,200 yen
    Yamazaki 12 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 8,500 yen
    Yamazaki 18 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 2,5000 yen
    Yamazaki 25 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 125,000 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    2. Suntory Single Malt Whiskey Hakushu

    It has a fresh and subtle smoky flavor like young leaves of the forest, with various unblended sakes that have the complexity and depth typical of “Hakushu.”

    HakushuAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 4,200 yen
    Hakushu 12 yearsTemporarily closed
    Hakushu 18 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 25,000 yen
    Hakushu 25 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 125,000 yen
    Reference: Suntory


    3. Suntory Whiskey Hibiki

    Regardless of the age of the whiskey, it is a masterpiece made with a variety of whiskeys and craftsmanship cultivated throughout whisky-making history. It has a gorgeous aroma and a deep yet soft taste. 

    Hibiki JAPANESE HARMONYAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 5,000 yen
    Hibiki BLENDER’S CHOICEAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: – yen
    Hibiki 21 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 25,000 yen
    Hibiki 30 yearsAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 125,000 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    4. Suntory Royal 

    Royal is a whiskey that locals released to commemorate Suntory’s 60th anniversary. Its charm lies in its exquisite blend of aroma, taste, and color, allowing you to enjoy its rich and elegant taste.

    royalAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 3,360 yen
    royal slimAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 2,920 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    5. Suntory Whiskey Special Reserve

    “Reserve” has been a popular long-seller along with Royal and Old since its release in 1969. This is a blended whiskey with a luxurious black and white monotone bottle design. Characterized by a mellow texture taste and a sweet scent similar to vanilla.

    special reserveAlcohol content: 40%, reference price: 2,680 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    6. Suntory Whiskey Old 

    Old is a whiskey with a rounded bottle and is affectionately known as “Daruma”. The gorgeous, fruity taste derived from sherry barrels allows you to enjoy a mellow and slightly sweet aftertaste.

    oldAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 1,880 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    7. Suntory Whiskey Kakubot 

    Suntory Whiskey Square Bottle is one of Suntory’s best-selling products. The taste is a well-balanced blend of bourbon barrel whiskey from Yamazaki Distillery and Hakushu Distillery and has a sweet aroma and a rich body.

    square bottleAlcohol content: 40%, reference price: 1,590 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    8. Suntory Whiskey Toris Classic

    It is popular as a whiskey that anyone can enjoy because it is easy to drink in arrangements such as cocktails and highballs, and you can also drink this on the rocks or mixed with water.

    Toris〈Classic〉Alcohol content: 37%, reference price: 900 yen
    Tris (extra)Alcohol content: 40%, reference price: 1,080 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    9. Suntory White 

    The taste is similar to Suntory Royal, and its appeal is that it is smooth and easy to drink. It has excellent cost performance and is a brand that is easy to recommend for everyday use.

    whiteAlcohol content: 40%, reference price: 1,174 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    10. Suntory Red 39°

    It has a caramel-like sweetness, making it easy to try even for those who don’t like spicy whisky, which has a strong alcoholic effect.

    redAlcohol content: 39%, reference price: 884 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    11. Suntory World Whiskey Ao

    This is the world’s first special whiskey that blends the world’s five major whiskeys made at our distillery. It has a sweet and gorgeous aroma and a mellow taste, with a pleasant smoky aftertaste.

    World Whiskey AoAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 6,000 yen
    Reference: Suntory


    12. Suntory Whiskey Chita

    This is a single-grain whiskey created using the various craftsmanship and craftsmanship cultivated over many years at the Chita Distillery in Aichi Prefecture. Characterized by its light taste and faintly sweet aroma.

    ChitaAlcohol content: 43%, reference price: 3,800 yen
    Reference: Suntory

    Suntory whiskey FAQ

    Regarding the ease of drinking Yamazaki and Hakushu

    Yamazaki whiskey is known for its rich, rich flavor, but some consumers may find it too strong. On the other hand, Hakushu whiskey has a light texture and a refreshing taste, making it especially recommended for whiskey beginners and people who prefer a lighter taste.

    Which one is more popular among the major whiskies?

    Ultimately, whether Yamazaki or Hakushu is more popular depends on individual preference. Yamazaki whiskey is chosen by those who seek its deep flavor and complex aroma, while Hakushu whiskey is chosen by those who like its refreshing feel and ease of drinking. Both have firmly established their positions as Japan’s leading whiskey brands.

    How to make Suntory whiskey?

    Barley Preparation

    Raw barley undergoes a selection process, favoring two-rowed barley known for its suitability in malt whisky production. The germinated barley is dried to produce malt, essential for saccharification, the conversion of starch into sugar. Location selection for distilleries emphasizes access to quality water, a crucial element for whiskey production, with considerations for taste, odor, and mineral balance.

    Saccharification Preparation

    Malted barley is crushed and mixed with warm water, initiating saccharification as enzymes in the malt convert starch into sugar. The resulting porridge, known as wort, undergoes filtration, yielding a solution ready for fermentation.


    Wort ferments over approximately 60 hours, facilitated by the addition of yeast, leading to the conversion of sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation completes, resulting in moromi, a fermented liquid with an alcohol content of around 7%.


    Moromi undergoes distillation in copper pot stills, first and second distillations, to increase alcohol concentration to 65-70%. The process utilizes the boiling point difference of alcohol to extract volatile components, including alcohol and aroma, resulting in “New Pot” whiskey.

    Aging and Storage

    Newly distilled whiskey matures in barrels for extended periods, with aging durations ranging from 3 to 10 years, influencing flavor and color development. Various barrel types, sizes, and storage conditions contribute to complex reactions, shaping the whiskey’s characteristics over time.


    Vatting involves the blending of malt spirits to create distinct whiskey expressions, such as Yamazaki 12 Year Old, crafted exclusively from malt whiskey aged for over 12 years. Age indications represent the minimum age of the malt base sake used, with the average age of vatted malt source sake typically slightly higher, showcasing the artistry of blending.

    Where to go to try Suntory Whisky?

    Suntory Whisky House (サントリーウイスキーハウス)

    Suntory Whisky House follows the concept of proposing a rich lifestyle with whisky and offers a Whiskey Gallery/Barrel, Whisky Dining, and Whisky Bottle Bar. It serves as a base for disseminating information about whisky, and aims to create and develop Western liquor culture by proposing a rich lifestyle with whiskey. In addition, the food menu is all carefully selected to go well with whisky. Whiskey House offers a marriage of food that goes well with whisky, proposed by its creator, the blender

    Address: 2F, 3-1 Ofuka-cho, Kita -ku, Osaka
    Phone number: 06-6359-5177
    Hours open: 11:30-14:30 LO Food 13:30 Drinks 14:00

    different alcoholic drinks in Suntory

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