World of Whisky

You Might Actually Be Able to Find This Japanese Whisky in Stores

January 16, 2019 Drinks By
Brand: Suntory
Upshot: Blend of whiskies from Canada, Scotland, Ireland, the US and Japan
Price: ~$50
Release Date: April 2019 (Japan), international markets shortly thereafter
Proof: 86

Announced today, Japanese whisky behemoth Suntory will make a new blended whisky. But unlike much of its lineup, it may not be impossible to find or impossibly expensive when it comes out later this year.

Dubbed “Ao,” the 86 proof bottle is a blend of whiskies from the world’s major producing countries — Canada, Scotland, Ireland, the US and Japan. It’s also the first whisky Suntory will release that blends whiskies from different regions (or at least the first that’s upfront about it).

Suntory’s worldwide whisky holdings are vast, so the move makes a lot of sense. Its portfolio is stuffed with names like Canadian Club, Tyrconnell, Laphroaig, Kessler, Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki. Considering everybody is pretty certain the day of Japanese whiskies carrying age statements is behind us (for now), Ao is a good move.

Plus, because Suntory has already said it plans to crank out something like 30,000 cases of the stuff, there should a fair amount to go around. Suntory Ao is set to launch in Japan in mid-April for 5000 Yen, or roughly $50. It will roll out to international markets — including the US — shortly thereafter.

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Will Price

Will Price is Gear Patrol's home and drinks editor. He's from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He's interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens, and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

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