[Review] Essence of Suntory Whiskey <Golden Promise>

THE ESSENCE of SUNTORY series Vol. 5 Volume 1

THE ESSENCE of SUNTORY series was created based on Suntory’s desire to pursue the “Essence” in whisky making.

part 1Released on February 27, 2018 Single Malt Whisky Single malt whisky Yamazaki Distillery <peated malt
Single grain whiskey Hakushu Distillery <Rye type
Single grain whiskey Chita distillery〈Ripe after 4 years in wine barrels
part 2February 26, 2019 releaseSingle malt whisky Yamazaki Distillery <Spanish Oak
Single malt whisky Yamazaki Distillery <Montillery Wine Cask
Single malt whisky Yamazaki Distillery <Refill Sherry Cask
part 3Release on October 29, 2019Blended Japanese Whiskey <Clean Type
Blended Japanese Whiskey (Rich Type)
Part 4To be released on April 28, 2020Essence of Suntory Whiskey(Rice Whiskey)
Single grain whisky Chita Distillery <Cherry Blossom Barrel Mature Blend
Part 5 To be released on August 31, 2021 Single malt whisky Yamazaki Distillery <Golden Promise
Single malt whiskey Yamazaki Distillery <Ira-peated

This time, it was developed under the theme of “barley”. The label design is also based on the image of “barley” with ink art.

The single malt whisky is made from the rare “Golden Promise” malt, and the single malt whisky is made from dried, peat-fired malt from the island of Islay. These are two challenges that will expand the new possibilities of whisky making by utilizing Suntory’s pride in creating a variety of different types of raw materials.

“Golden” Promise is a barley malt variety developed in the 1960s. It is said to be the best malt whisky variety, although it is difficult to cultivate, and is famous for the fact that the Macallan distillery used to use only Golden Promise.

1. Manufacturer

Suntory Spirits Co.

Establishment Established in 1899
Head office location2-3-3 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 135-8631, Japan
Owned distilleryJapan
Yamazaki Distillery, Hakushu Distillery, Chita Distillery
Scotland
Ardmore distillery, Glengilly distillery, Auchentoshan distillery, Bowmore distillery, Laphroig distillery
Ireland
Cooley distillery, Kilbeggan distillery
United States
Jim Beam distillery, Maker’s Mark distillery
Canada
Hiram Walker Distillery, Alberta Distillery

2. Distilleries

Suntory Yamazaki Distillery

Location 2-1, Yamazaki 5-chome, Shimamoto-cho, Mishima-gun, Osaka 618-0001, Japan
Start of operation 1923

The Yamazaki Distillery was established in 1923 as the first malt whisky distillery in Japan. This was at a time when whiskey was still a rare drink for the general public. “I want to make a Japanese whiskey that suits the delicate taste of the Japanese people” With this passion in his heart, Shinjiro Torii set out to make whiskey.
Shinjiro was particular about the Japanese climate. Water and the environment were especially important to him. Yamazaki is the home of the famous water called Minase no, which was written about in the Manyo poem.
The tea master Sen no Rikyu loved this place and the water was perfect for making whiskey. The natural environment was also perfect.
Yamazaki is located in the southwest of Kyoto, at the foot of Tennozan (Mt. Tenno), where bamboo groves grow thickly, and is rich in nature where you can feel the seasonal changes. Located at the confluence of the Katsura, Uji, and Kizu Rivers, and surrounded by mountains, Yamazaki is prone to thick fog and has a warm and humid climate, which is ideal for maturing whiskey.

“The only way to make good whiskey is Yamazaki, which has this water and this climate,” Shinjiro decided to be the hometown of whiskey.
Reference: YAMAZAKI MOMENTS

Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
1923 Yamazaki distillery was built. The first whisky distillery in Japan.
1929 Released “Shirofuda” , the first domestically produced whisky.
1937 Released “Kakubin” .
1984 Released single malt whisky “Yamazaki “.
1992 – Single malt whisky “Yamazaki 18 years” was launched.
1998 Single malt whisky “Yamazaki 25 years” was launched.
2005 May 11 – Launch of single malt whisky “Yamazaki 50 years” – limited to 50 bottles, 1 million yen
2007 September 11 Re-released single malt whisky “Yamazaki 50 years” Limited edition of 50 bottles, 1 million yen
2011/12/13 Re-release of single malt whisky “Yamazaki 50 years” Limited to 150 bottles: 1 million yen
June 30, 2020: Re-release of single malt whisky “Yamazaki 55 years”, limited to 100 bottles, 3 million yen

Image credit: Yamazaki Distillery|Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki|Suntory

For more information on the Yamazaki Distillery, please see this article.

3. Product name and photo

Essence of Suntory Whisky Golden Promise

created by Rinker
サントリースピリッツ
¥38,000 (2022/07/04 08:49:21時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

4. Characteristics

Image courtesy of THE ESSENCE of SUNTORY WHISKY | Suntory

Single malt whisky aged for 11 years in American oak barrels.

The Golden Promise variety was widely cultivated in Scotland around 1968-1980, but is now a rare variety produced in only a few areas. This is the first time Suntory has commercialized a product based on this variety. This single malt whisky is characterized by a soft grain aroma and a dense mouthfeel derived from the Golden Promise variety, in addition to the strength typical of Yamazaki.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaSoft aroma, sweetness of barley, honey
TasteDense mouthfeel, honey sweetness, faint sourness, deep flavor
AftertasteCreamy, long aftertaste with sweetness and acidity

(Quoted from: Suntory Holdings Limited)

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content53% alcohol by volume
by alcoholMalt (Golden Promise non-peated malt)
Barrel typeAmerican oak barrels
Contents500ml
Number of bottles soldLimited quantity
Suggested retail price8,800 yen (tax included)
Release dateAugust 31, 2021 (Tuesday)

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameEssence of Suntory Whiskey <Golden Promise
Volume500ml
Suggested retail price8,800 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 67,500 yen to 75,000 yen for a set of two bottles of Essence of Suntory Whiskey <Ira Peated> and Essence of Suntory Whiskey <Golden Promise>. (*As of September 3, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The lowestbid price on Yahoo Auction for a set of two bottles of Essence of Suntory Whiskey (Islay Peated) and Essence of Suntory Whiskey (Golden Promise) is 65,000 yen, the highest is 101,000 yen, and the average is 82,072 yen. (* Statistics for the past 180 days since 9/3/2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon (*As of 9/3/2021)

created by Rinker
サントリースピリッツ
¥38,000 (2022/07/04 08:49:21時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR SHINKAI”, which is operated by our website, we offer a small amount of the product, such as 1glass,45ml: 3,960 yen, 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 yen.

7. Summary

This whisky is created by Suntory’s diverse range of raw spirits.
It is a non-peated single malt whisky using only the rare Golden Promise variety, and is very mellow on the palate, with a sweetness from the grains and a depth of flavor from 11 years of aging.
“Both Golden Promise and Islay Peated are extremely difficult to find. On flea market sites, the price has quadrupled since the day it was released, and it has actually been sold at that price. I hope that the time will come soon when those who want it can buy it.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Essence of Suntory.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whiskey and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

created by Rinker
¥1,320
(2022/07/04 05:27:37時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whiskey and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

created by Rinker
¥957
(2022/07/04 04:51:38時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

created by Rinker
repicbook(リピックブック)株式会社
¥1,870
(2022/07/04 05:46:25時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whiskey in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.

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