[Review] Essence of Suntory whisky (Clean Type)

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Hakushu DistilleryChita Distillery

THE ESSENCE of SUNTORY WHISKY is a series created from Suntory’s desire to pursue the “Essence” in whisky making. 2019.This is the third release in the series.
It is a blend of malt liquor aged in cedar barrels from Hakushu Distillery, malt liquor aged in white oak barrels, and grain liquor from Chita Distillery.


1. Manufacturer

Suntory Spirits Co.

Established 1899
Headquarters location2-3-3 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 135-8631, Japan
Owned distillery●Japan
Yamazaki Distillery, Hakushu Distillery, Chita Distillery
Ardmore distillery, Glengilly distillery, Auchentoshan distillery, Bowmore distillery, Laphroig distillery
Cooley distillery, Kilbeggan distillery
●United States
Jim Beam distillery, Maker’s Mark distillery
Hiram Walker distillery, Alberta distillery

2. Distillery

Suntory Hakushu Distillery

Location 2913-1 Toribaru, Hakushu-cho, Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi 408-0316, Japan
Start of operation 1973

In 1973, exactly 50 years after Japan’s first whisky production, the Hakushu Distillery was completed in a lush forest of 820,000 square meters at the foot of Mount Kai Komagatake in the Southern Alps, blessed with abundant nature.
The brewing water is surrounded by the moist atmosphere of the forest, and the Hakushu malt is made with pure and soft natural water from the Southern Alps, polished by granite. The malt is matured over a long period of time in the changing seasons that are unique to Japan, and is the source of the clean, aromatic Hakushu flavor.
In 2014, the company spent 1 billion yen to add four more pot stills, bringing the total number of stills to 16. A wide variety of pot stills of different sizes and shapes are used to make different types of sake. The storage room is a rack type with a high ceiling. The temperature and humidity are not controlled by hand, but are left to nature.

1973 Hakushu distillery was built.
1994 Release of Hakushu 12 years
2006 Release of Hakushu 18 years
2008 Release of Hakushu 25 years

Image credit: Suntory Official Forest Distillery

For more information about Hakushu Distillery, please see this article.


Suntory Chita Distillery

Location 16 Kitahamacho, Chita City, Aichi Prefecture, 478-0046, Japan
Start of operation 1973

The Chita Distillery, located on the Chita Peninsula overlooking Ise Bay, is a grain whisky distillery established by the Suntory Group in collaboration with the Zen-Noh Group, and is one of the three domestic whisky distilleries of the Suntory Group, along with the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries for malt whisky. Here, corn-based grain whisky has been supported. The Chita Distillery uses continuous distillation to produce three types of grain whisky: clean, medium and heavy, which is unique in the world.

For more information about Chita Distillery, please see this article.


3. Product name and photo

The Essence of Suntory whisky <Clean Type>

4. Characteristics

Malt raw material aged in cedar barrels for more than 6 years

Blended Japanese Whisky is Suntory’s new challenge to blended whisky, where the strong character of Japan’s unique “cedar barrel malt original” shines through in a delicate and graceful harmony. The <Clean Type> uses Hakushu malt barrels aged for more than six years in cedar barrels with mirror plates made of cedar wood, and is carefully blended with malt barrels aged in white oak from Hakushu Distillery and clean type grain barrels from Chita Distillery. You will enjoy the refreshing aroma of the cedar barrel malt, and the clean, sweet, yet full-bodied taste.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaRefreshing and overwhelmingly fragrant cedar cask malt. A pure and clean blend.
TasteThe aroma of cedar spreads in the mouth, while the taste is sweet and full-bodied.
AftertasteThe lingering aroma of cedar lingers on the palate.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content48% alcohol by volume
by alcoholBlended Whisky
Barrel typeCedar barrels, white oak barrels
Number of bottles soldLimited quantity
Suggested retail price5,500 yen (tax included)
Release dateOctober 29, 2019

5. Award history

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameEssence of Suntory whisky <Clean Type
Suggested retail priceTax included: 5,500 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 25,000 yen to 40,000 yen. (*As of April 8, 2021)
The price is for the set with Essence of Suntory whisky <Rich Type> which was released at the same time.

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction was 12,000 yen, the highest was 17,500 yen, and the average was 14,425 yen(*Statistics for the past 120 days from 4/8/2021).

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Mail order sites sell them for around 20,000 yen to 30,000 yen (*As of 4/8/2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At “BAR Shinkai”, which is operated by this website, one drink is offered for 45ml: 2,320 yen, 30ml: 1,540 yen, 15ml: 770 yen 


7. Summary

The recommended way to drink it is straight or with soda. This whisky is sold in limited quantities, so it has attracted a lot of attention.

Please check out the other articles about Essence of Suntory.



Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

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

(1). 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.


(2). Whisky Galore Vol.25 April 2021

The April 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute.
This issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, features the definition of Japanese whisky and a list of 24 distilleries as the latest in Japanese whisky. It also features an interview with Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, making it a must-have for Japanese whisky fans.


(3). Whisky 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 whisky 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.


新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary