Suntory AO – Gift Box
Suntory Ao World Whisky, released in April 2019, is a unique blended whisky that takes advantage of the enormous reach of the Suntory portfolio. Rather than combining, say, different Scotch whiskies to create a consistent blend, this bottling blends whiskies from all five major whisk(e)y-producing regions—Scotland, Ireland, the United States, Canada, and Japan—to create a new expression that’s more or less unlike anything else on the market.
The whiskies are all from Suntory- or Beam-Suntory-owned distilleries and are reportedly hand-selected by Suntory’s chief blender, Shinji Fuwa.
The blend comes in a symbolic five-sided bottle with a striking ocean-blue label; “Ao” is Japanese for “blue,” a reference to the oceans separating the five whisky-making regions.
Nose: Faintly raisin or tangerine, there is a bright fruity sweetness on the nose along with a bit of creamy sugary buttercream frosting. The sweetness of the nose is at turns juicy or sticky candy: white grape juice at one moment, grape Jolly Ranchers the next.
Palate: A medium-bodied whisky, the Ao opens with sweet butterscotch and sparkling grape juice. It is dry without being overly astringent with lots of mild oak spices. Florals and candy come into the mix; lavender flavoured candy anyone?
Finish: Mild and mellow with some creamy sugar and grassy sweetness