October 19 2020  |  Spirits & Tobacco

Beam Suntory launches first ever “world blended whisky” GTR exclusive

By Wendy Morley

With the growing popularity of whisky the world over combined with expertise in whisky making that has broken beyond traditional borders, Beam Suntory has launched the first-ever world blended whisky, Suntory World Whisky ‘Ao’, exclusive to global travel retail.

This whisky, which will be released in 16 markets, is created by blending whisky from distilleries in Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the US. To signify the oceans that connects these distilleries, the whisky’s name is “Ao,” which means “blue.”

‘Ao’ is a reference to the beautiful color of the ocean (碧, Ao in Japanese), a tribute to the crossing of oceans and seas taking place as these whiskies of the world and Japanese craftsmanship meet

Ao captures the distinctive characteristics from each of these regions: the heathery flavour from Ardmore and Glen Garioch, complexity from Cooley, smoothness from Alberta, the vibrance from Jim Beam and the subtlety of Yamazaki and Hakushu.

Fifth-generation Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo carefully selected the liquids used based on Suntory’s globally recognised Monozukuri craftsmanship – a relentless pursuit of perfection, meticulous attention to detail and commitment to quality

Master Blender Shinji Fukuyo said: “Ao is an exceptional whisky which, through the art of Suntory blending, allows you to enjoy the unique characteristics of each of the five major whisky-making regions”

Sho Semba, Head of Suntory Spirits, said: “We are very excited about the launch of this new whisky. Suntory World Whisky ‘Ao’ brings together the world’s most highly regarded whisky regions to produce this unique and premium quality blend.

“In recent years we’ve seen a huge increase in demand from customers across the world who want to experience Japanese whisky. We are confident that whisky enthusiasts will enjoy the unique flavour created by this unique Japanese blended whisky, which originates from around the world.”

Ed Stening, Global Head of Travel Retail Marketing at Beam Suntory International, said: “This is a truly innovative whisky that blends five very different distilleries’ greatest assets and unique crafts. We couldn’t be more excited to share ‘Ao’ with our customers and bring some exciting innovation to the global travel retail world.”

The bottle is five-sided in honour of the five major whisky-making regions. The calligraphic lettering was written by Japanese calligrapher Tansetsu Ogino with an intent to represent the whiskies’ global origins and Japanese craftsmanship

Product Details

Tasting notes:
Colour – amber
Nose – profound vanilla, pineapple-like fruitiness on top, a creamy sweetness and depth with a lingering woody aroma
Palate – smooth and sweet mouthfeel, gradually followed with smokiness and cinnamon-like spiciness
Finish – sweet and smoky, spicy and woody, a many-layered complexity


Retail Recommended Price:
65€ / $71

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