The latest release from Beam Suntory is Ardray blended Scotch whisky, meant as a mix of Scottish and Japanese production traditions.
Beam Suntory’s Chief Blender for Scotch, Calum Fraser, worked with Suntory’s blenders. Together they drew from a handful of Scotch distilleries from Beam Suntory and its partners at Edrington (owners of The Macallan, The Glenrothes and Highland Park).
“In creating Ardray, we have combined an exceptional selection of the very best Scotch whisky has to offer with the inspiring talent of Suntory’s blending team to create something new, refreshing and exciting,” says Fraser. “The time, care and attention to detail taken to source both malt and grain whiskies from some of Scotland’s most noted distilleries has allowed us to explore hundreds of blends of Scotch malt and grain whiskies to achieve Ardray’s optimum balance of multi-layered flavors.”
“Driven by the desire to ensure the true beauty of this blend is greater than the sum of its parts,” Fraser adds. “Ardray promises a rich and complex taste, with a distinctive harmony of flavors: a mild, gently floral, and citrusy fruitiness, with a vanilla custard creaminess and a rich, silky mouthfeel and lengthy aftertaste that is unmatched.”
Presented in a bottle marked with the year of release, Ardray displays the work of artist Lia Melia. The textured rippling pattern represents malt and grain, the two fundamental ingredients in Scotch whisky. The feel of the glass bottle takes after the free-flowing water of Scotland’s streams and rivers, and the patterns made by the wind blowing across barley fields, the company says.
Ardray comes bottled at 48%. Non-chill filtered, it’s a malt-rich blend of Scottish malt and grain whiskies.
Blended in annual batches, the recipe will be adjusted according to the characteristics of the casks used in each batch.
On the nose is hints of apple, pear, and plum lying over a soft savory smokiness and hints of oregano and clementine, the company says. The palate brings floral and citrus fruitiness, with vanilla custard creaminess. The finish has sweet smokiness and hints of white pepper and oregano.
Ardray reaches shelves in the U.S. late in summer 2023 with a suggested retail price of $85 per 700-ml. bottle.
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Author: Kyle Swartz