Father’s day is almost here, kicking off on Sunday the 18th of June. There are many great gifts to get your dad this year, the obvious and best choice being a bottle of great Japanese whisky.
While the whisky world is changing, and becoming more popular across a wider age range in the population, the fact that dads like whisky remains an undeniable fact! We’ve got a lovely sale going on here, with tips, discounts, and price ranges available to make the best choice for dad this year, and show him you truly care.
But in this piece we wanted to dig a little deeper, taking a closer look at some well-known figures in the Japanese whisky world who were pretty awesome dads too. These figures have each played a huge part in making Japanese whisky what it is today. Through hard work and innovative thinking, they propelled the industry forward, and it is their accomplishments that have made the golden elixir of Japan so sought after across the globe today.
If you think being a parent slows you down in terms of career growth, these dads will prove you wrong.
Shinjiro Torri is the mastermind behind the company known today as Suntory. He was the one who, basically, led the creation of the unique flavour of Japanese whisky, and made it stand alone in the world of whisky. He wanted a new flavour, something unique for the Japanese population, and through the Yamazaki distillery he achieved just that, and much more.
Now, almost a century later, Suntory is the biggest whisky company in Japan, and one of the largest in the world.
Torii’s son, Keizo Saji, established the Suntory Art Museum and the Suntory Music Foundation in Tokyo, out of the huge respect he had for his father’s work. Shinjiro raised his son with love and care, and helped turn him into the successful businessman man we’re familiar with.
Often described as the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru was the founder of Nikka Whisky and the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido.
As a young man, Taketsuru lived and studied distillation science in Scotland. This was also where he met his Scottish wife, Rita Taketsuru, whom he married and later moved with to Japan.
Growing up, Taketsuru always dreamt of creating great and intense flavoured whisky, similar to Scotch, and fought for decades to make his people embrace those intense flavours, which were then unfamiliar to the Japanese. He succeeded, and today Nikka stands strong as one of the largest whisky companies in Japan.
Masataka was the father to Rima Taketsuru, and after the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, he also adopted Takeshi Taketsuru, his sister’s son. After the death of Masataka and Rita, Takeshi took over Nikka, as chief distiller, and helped it grow substantially, reaching the global popular the company enjoys today. He wasn’t his biological son, but Masataka left behind a son nonetheless, who took Nikka to even greater heights!
Shinji Fukuyo serves as the Executive Officer and Chief Blender of Suntory Spirits Limited. While Torri and Taketsuru started it all, Fukuyo continues working hard today, currently in charge of all the whisky produced by the biggest Japanese whisky company in the world.
He is responsible for the quality of around 7 million cases of Suntory whisky each year, and is the mastermind behind the world-renowned releases by Yamazaki, Chita, and Hakushu. He is also the driving force behind the ever-popular, and multiple award-winning Hibiki blends.
While Torii started the company, Suntory wouldn’t be where it is today without the brilliant minds of the chief blenders that have passed.
Despite his busy schedule, Fukuyo still has time to spend some lovely summer days with his wife and two sons in their home in Kobe.
The Men & The Whiskies
To finish off, we want to leave you on a pleasant note, with some whisky in mind. Here are the perfect father’s day gifts inspired by the awesome dads mentioned above:
The flavours of this amazing blend are what the great Shinjiro Torii wanted to achieve. A whisky so smooth and delicate, focusing on the subtle flavours, instead of boasting intensity, like older, traditional Scotches. Torii wanted a new flavour, that could stand alone and tall next to other whiskies around the world.
This is it.
The Yoichi single malt, distilled and matured up in the cold climate of Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture, is the flavour master distiller Masataka Taketsuru sought to create after spending many years studying whisky in Scotland.
He wanted a peaty, strong-flavoured Japanese whisky that could rival the wonderful whiskies produced in Islay and Speyside. The result was this, an intense yet balanced whisky, with all the strength and power Taketsuru sought to infuse it with.
The Hibiki is Suntory’s most popular, and world-known premium blended whisky and has only grown in recent years, continuously receiving awards all over the globe.
The 21 year-old, in particular, has been voted the World’s Best Blended Whisky 5 times in the last decade. And that’s not an easy category to win in!
Shinji Fukuyo is the maestro behind the wonderful Hibiki blends, and this limited Mount Fuji edition is a rare and beautiful bottling if there ever was one.