The Essence of Suntory Whisky Volume 5: Malt Mania

Volume 5 in Suntory's Essence of Suntory Whisky series focuses specifically on malt. Two bottles officially go on sale on August 31, 2021, targeted solely at the on-trade.

It's been over a year since the release of volume 4 in this series, but better late than never. Volume 5 shines a spotlight on the work Suntory does with various types of malt at the Yamazaki Distillery. I suspect these two particular bottles will work well as a pair, given they come from the same distillery, were aged in the same kind of casks, and for the same amount of time. The only difference--or at least the only one made public--is the kind of malt used.

The Essence of Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Distillery Golden Promise

Golden Promise is a brand name of malt most famously associated with The Macallan, who used it exclusively during the 1960s and 70s. Here in Japan, the Karuizawa Distillery started using the same brand once they were allowed to import barley from overseas, rather than use domestic.

Suntory and The Macallan owner Edrington have been buddy-buddy for decades as well. The Macallan is distributed by Suntory here in Japan. So it makes sense that Suntory would try their hand at a Golden Promise-edition Yamazaki.

Distilled in 2009 and aged for 11 years in American oak casks, the company says it's soft on the nose but rich on the palate.

Nose: Soft aroma, sweet malt, honey
Palate: Rich, sweetness of honey, slight acidity, lots of depth
Finish: Long, with interwoven acidity and sweetness. Creamy

53% abv, 500ml, 8000 yen before tax

The Essence of Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Distillery Islay Peated Malt

This bottle was made using Optic malt dried with Islay peat. As you can imagine it should deliver plenty of peat, with Suntory saying the nose features a "heavy" peat aroma and the palate being smooth.

Distilled in 2010 and aged for 11 years in American Oak casks.

Nose: Intense peat, sea spray
Palate: Smooth and soft with lasting sweetness
Finish: Long lasting fragrant peat

This bottle could also be interesting to compare to the Yamazaki Distillery Peated Malt from the very first volume in The Essence series. That one was "Peated Malt" rather than "Islay Peated Malt."

54% abv, 500ml, 8000 yen before tax

Look for these ones at a bar near you soon, corona-permitting.

Update 31-Aug-2021: The official homepage for the Essence series has now been updated to show these bottles.

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