The House of Suntory is one of the oldest makers of distilled beverages in the world. Widely known for their more ubiquitous whiskies, they also own some of the finest craft distilleries in Japan. It all began in 1879 with the birth of Shinjiro Torii, at a time when Western civilisation and culture was flowing into Japan. At thirteen he became an apprentice at a pharma-ceutical wholesaler carrying western liquors. There Shinjiro developed his palate and mastered the techniques of mixing and blending. At the age of twenty, he rented a modest house in Osaka and opened his own store to sell imported wines. He soon discovered that he needed to blend the wines in order to develop flavours more suited for the subtle Japanese taste.
Inspired by the Scottish whisky he loved, in 1923 Shinjiro invested all his family’s money to build Japan’s first malt whisky distillery, the legendary YAMAZAKI. The first single malt in Japan was released five years later and was named SUNTORY. The iconic square bottle version came later and went on to become the country’s No.1 seller. It was so successful that the company was renamed after it. Torys bars opened around the county and cultivated the growth of Japanese whisky culture.
Shinjiro’s son, Keizo Saji, continued his father’s quest to push boundaries. He built the CHITA single grain distillery in 1972, followed by the famous HAKUSHU distillery. From these three distilleries, some of the world’s finest single malts and blends are produced. The stunning HIBIKI range was launched in 1989 for Suntory’s 90th anniversary. Don’t miss some of their other gems: HAKU craft vodka made from Japanese white rice. Or the fabulous ROKU craft gin containing six botanicals sourced in Japan.