Whisky Connosr

Suntory 'Za'

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@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

6th Jun 2014


Suntory 'Za'
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Suntory
  • ABV: 40%

‘Za’ is a blended whisky that was released by Suntory as a new brand on 5 September 2000. ‘Za’ is the Japanese character for ‘to sit’ and apparently was chosen to suggest that this blend should be enjoyed while sitting down, relaxing and having a good time with other folks. As a peculiarity the original Japanese press release mentions that during the maturation process cedar wood was used, thereby imparting an exceptionally clear aftertaste to the whisky (for the original press release – click here: www.suntory.co.jp/news/2000/7711.html). ‘Za’ is also interesting due to the fact that this was the first creation of Seiichi Koshimizu, Suntory’s current chief blender. It was not a success, however, and soon disappeared from the shelves. Today, ‘Za’ can still be found in small mom & pop stores in Japan, and I have to thank a fellow malt maniac living in Japan for a generous sample.

The nose is light and pleasantly malty. There is a distinctly grassy note to this, with flavours of straw and cabbage leaves coming to the fore. Later on I got salty and very lightly briny notes.

The palate is light-bodied with hints of orange peel and subdued wood spiciness, followed by sawdust and a hint of mint.

The finish is of medium length and slightly bitter. There is a lot of tannic dryness but at an agreeable level.

By all means I did not find anything in this blend that would have distinguished it in any way. While the nose was sort of interesting, the palate was non-descript. Still, I enjoyed this blend from the perspective of having had the possibility to taste Koshimizu-san’s first ever oeuvre.