Bartender’s choice: Suntory Reserve

In my previous blog I wrote about Nikka whisky for the first time, and also on the changing tastes of Japanese whisky lovers. As peat taste did not go well with most Japanese whisky drinkers at the time Black Nikka was made, It is an important part of Japanese whisky history and Masataka Taketsuru himself used to drink a little bit of High Nikka every night at his home after work.

This time I am going to talk a little bit about the Suntory, at the time the most popular Suntory whisky was the Suntory Old series which was when it first came out a luxury item, because of this it was considered very fashionable to drink and people loved to order it at bars. On the other hand, Black Nikka was inexpensive so anyone could afford it. So, Suntory thought it needed an item to compete with Black Nikka, and they also wanted to make a whisky which could be enjoyed by Japanese customers and foreigners alike. The reason was that at the time many foreigners were scheduled to come to Japan, especially because of the Osaka Expo of 1970.

So, Just before the Expo, in 1969, Suntory released its new edition of whisky. The name was Suntory Reserve. A whisky with low peat levels just right for Japanese consumers with a strong alcoholic scent, however when put into one´s mouth the alcoholic taste is minimal and instead one will find a deep sugary, sweet taste.

Suntory reserve was a large hit, with its relatively modest price, and dense sweetness. It was especially popular in the 1990s when it was mixed with water and sold in cans and called Twiceup and could be bought in convenience stores 24/7.

Many people think that the drink is best serves warm, however the aroma is not at its best when warm, but Japanese bartenders found away around this problem:

What we do is to pour 40ml of Suntory reserve into a glass and then add a moderate amount of hot water to it. Add 3ml of Drambuie ABV and stirr. Finally one pours 10 ML of Hakushu on top. With this you have a cocktail that is hot like Suntory Reserve should be, with the aroma preserved. Give it a try!