Japan Centre brings us another treat. It’s the whisky for which Japan had gained a reputation: this is Toki from the celebrated House of Suntori. It is totally Japanese. Toki is a blend of the spirits from three of the most awarded distilleries in the world. They are Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita.
The construction of Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki, in the outskirts of Kyoto, began in 1923. This was the start of Suntori. The second Suntory distillery, Hakushu, was born in 1973 and is one of the highest distilleries in the world, set on Mt. Kaikomagatake in the Japanese Southern Alps. It takes advantage of a unique microclimate and soft pure water filtered through the granite rocks.
The third distillery was founded in 1972 by Keizo Saji on the Chita Peninsula. He was Suntory’s second Master Blender and had a focus on high-quality grain whisky.
Suntory Toki is light in every regard. The bottle is distinctive and angular and contains a pale straw-coloured spirit. It is suggested that one should enjoy this whisky either neat or as a Highball cocktail – which is said to be the most popular mixed drink in Japan. I would advise sipping it garnished with just a chunk of ice, for at least the first outing. Its subtle character will be more easily appreciated.
Appearance: Clear pale yellow
Nose: apples, a hint of herb and honey notes
Palate: apple, grapefruit, vanilla and a little spice
Finish: pepper, oak and a suspicion of leather
ABV: 43% Vol
Toki from the House of Suntory is the perfect whisky for those who want to step away from the peatier expressions of some Scotch whisky. It’s soft and subtle and a well-priced sipping spirit.