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Thread: Suntory Whisky

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  1. #1
    Guru
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    Suntory Whisky

    During my absence from home earlier today, my son, enroute from the airport to his home, dropped off a bottle of Suntory whisky, which he had brought back from his just-completed trip to Japan.

    In addition to my fatherly disappointment at not being present to welcome his 6'4" frame back to the land of full-size living accomodations, I missed the opportunity to hear a description of the whisky. By now, he's undoubtedly sacked out, trying to get back to Sunday, never mind Pacific Standard Time. Rather than disturb him with a phone call, I resorted to a search of SB.com in the hope of learning about my gift. Nada.

    Next I searched the web for "Suntory", only to find that most of the information that turned up was in Japanese. However, I did find the following page, which, while both charming and informative in an oblique way, told me nothing about what to expect when I open the bottle.

    Can anyone give me a clue?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #2
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    I have Jim Murray's 2004 Whiskey Bible. Suntory Old is described as a blended whiskey; I'm guessing it is a blended scotch whiskey. He rates it at an 89, which is very good. Comments include "subtle oak on the grain offers texture alongside the silky malt...A gem"

  3. #3
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    Thanks for the JM description.

    Based on that, I'd bet my son sampled it and found it to his liking.

    He knows I have a glass of Famous Grouse, JW Black, or Highland Park 12 y/o occasionally. Of course, if I'd only known that he was willing to lug a bottle half way around the world for Pops, I'd have given him a Turkey-laden shopping list.

    I must keep in mind that beggars can't be choosers.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    Suntory is scotch-like. Most Japanese whiskies are intended to duplicate scotch, but a few try to copy bourbon.

  5. #5
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    Chuck,

    In your opinion, will the Japanese distillers ever achieve in bourbon any semblance of the success that they have in other fields? Is the bourbonic equivalent of a Lexus auto, a Sony TV or a Yamaha euphonium in our future?

    My guess would be that there are insufficient market forces to drive such a development, never mind the difficulty in matching the techology and raw materials that already exist in Kentucky.

    Along those lines, do you know whether they use peat in making the scotch-like whisky? If so, where do they get it?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    I think the market force is there -- a huge market for high proced whiskey. However, there is a 'cache' to the word "imported."

    Remember, Kirin bought and owns Four Roses. That would be the best way for a Japanese firm to have good bourbon -- and they did.


  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    Unlike Japanese consumer electronics, Japanese automobiles and many other products of Japanese industry, Japanese whiskey is entirely a domestic product. I don't know if Suntory or any other maker has ever attempted to export it. Perhaps they do in Asia, but not in Europe or the USA.

    As I understand it, the Japanese became very enamoured of scotch and following the usual pattern of Japanese industry, determined to make it domestically. Unfortunately, no matter what they tried they just couldn't get it right. I assume they would have the same experience with bourbon.

    Japan is a very large whiskey market for both domestic and imported products. Most of the domestic whiskies are scotch-style, but they do have a couple that are supposed to be more like bourbon and are positioned with bourbon-like names and imagery. It can be argued that the bourbon renaissance we are now enjoying was sparked by the rapid growth of the market for U.S. whiskey in Japan in the late 1980s.

    I haven't seen the movie yet but the premise of "Lost in Translation" is that Bill Murray is an American movie star in Japan to do ads for Suntory whiskey.

  8. #8
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    After I saw "Lost in Translation" (which I really liked, but expect to learn more about Japanese/American cultural differences than about the whiskey itself), I looked for Suntory. I found it at a couple of the Liquor Barns in Louisville filed under Scotch. I haven't gotten around to sampling it yet, but I could do the virtuous thing and "take one for the team". (Oh the sacrifices I make!) I don't know if they started carrying Suntory after the movie craze or before.

    BTW, one of my "whiskey geek" moments was revealing to my friends after the movie that I knew the brand Suntory and that it was a legit brand and not made up for the movie.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    I haven't bought any yet but it has been available for several years in Louisville.

  10. #10
    Apprentice
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    Re: Suntory Whisky

    I don't know if Suntory or any other maker has ever attempted to export it. Perhaps they do in Asia, but not in Europe or the USA.
    Dear Cowdery

    Thatís not entirely correct. They do export their Whisky at least to Europe

    As I understand it, the Japanese became very enamoured of scotch and following the usual pattern of Japanese industry, determined to make it domestically. Unfortunately, no matter what they tried they just couldn't get it right.
    Underestimating the Japanese ability to produce whisky is unfortunately only all too common. In my opinion some of the finest Single Malts are actually produced by Nikka. Yoichi as a 10 year old is a superb dram. Actually among the pride of my collection is a Yoichi 20 years old at 52%. Itís quite expensive so Iím saving it for that special moment. I'll atach a pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images

 

 

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