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Introducing Suntory Ao, the brand’s first world blended whisky

2019 is poised to be a good year of transparency. Japan’s biggest whisky-maker has just announced the imminent launch of the Suntory Ao whisky, a world blended whisky comprising five of the major whisky-making countries: Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, and — of course — Japan.

Suntory Ao
Suntory released a teaser of their upcoming Ao whisky via their YouTube channel.

“Ao” here translates to the colour blue in Japanese, which is made in reference to the colour of the sea connecting all five regions. As mentioned, the spirit will feature a blend of whiskies made at in-house distilleries where the Five World Whiskies are produced. Seeing as Suntory and their American sister company Beam Suntory has a long list of brands under them, it remains to be seen in the near future which distillery precisely they are referring to.

This is the company’s first new category of whisky outside their “Japanese whisky” category.

Before you scramble to find your very own bottle at any duty-free airport outlets, hold your horses — Suntory Ao is only set to hit the Japanese market in April this year, and it won’t be a limited edition item. It will be part of the core lineup.

Suntory Ao
Suntory Ao features a blend of whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, America, Canada, and Japan.

Unlike other region-specific whiskies like Scotch and Bourbon, Japanese whiskies do not have strict regulations imposed on making them. Hence, you get companies importing other countries’ whiskies, then adding a blend of Japanese whisky inside and calling it Japanese whisky. So while world blended whiskies aren’t a rare commodity in Japan, the fact that Suntory is choosing to publicly address the fact that they will be producing a world blended whisky marks an important step in transparency within the country.

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.