Beam Suntory Launches ARDRAY Blended Scotch Whisky

by Phillip Galyean

Today we embark on a new era in blended Scotch whisky as we reveal ARDRAY® in the United States. ARDRAY is an exquisite, beautifully complex, yet approachable malt-rich blended whisky, created to challenge preconceptions and offer a fresh perspective in Scotch.

Bringing the unique terroir of Scotland together with the precision and artistry of Japan defines this moment. Realized by the award-winning Suntory blending team from Japan, ARDRAY brings together only the finest, most complex whiskies to celebrate the wonderful attributes that make Scotch so special.

ARDRAY’s journey began with a vision. A vision to create a whisky that wonderfully balances multiple layers of flavor. Beam Suntory’s Chief Blender for Scotch, Calum Fraser, worked tirelessly with Suntory’s blenders, architects of the superbly balanced recipe, to bring this to life. Calling on blend styles of the past when fewer, more characterful malts were blended to create whiskies of distinction, complexity, and depth, ARDRAY intertwines the past and the future.

With inspiration drawn from The Father of Japanese Whisky, Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii, his journey now comes full circle. A hundred years ago, inspired by traditional Scottish whisky, Torii-San envisioned a Japanese approach to create a subtle, refined, yet complex whisky that would suit the delicate palate of the Japanese. With this remarkable blend, we honor Torii’s quest, from a reinterpretation of Scotch for the Japanese palate to ARDRAY: a new, elegant interpretation, designed to celebrate the excellence of blended Scotch Whisky.

Built on the premise that blended whisky is an art form that deserves both respect and reappraisal, we have created ARDRAY to challenge preconceptions. In treating both malt and grain whiskies as equals, we have produced a whisky that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Drawing from just a handful of the finest Scotch distilleries from Beam Suntory, a world leader in premium spirits and our partners at Edrington (owners of The Macallan, The Glenrothes and Highland Park), this is a blended whisky that captures the role of terroir and the production traditions of Scotland’s distilleries that define each of their unique spirit character.

Calum Fraser, Chief Blender for Scotch, comments: “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. 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. 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 bespoke bottle each marked with the year of release, the striking artwork of artist Lia Melia adorns each one, capturing Scotland’s raw beauty. Its richly textured rippling pattern representing malt and grain highlights two fundamental ingredients in Scotch whisky. The unique 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.

ARDRAY is bottled at 48% alcohol by volume (96 proof) and non-chill filtered to make the most of the full complex character of the whiskies in the blend. It is a malt rich blend of Scottish Malt and Grain Whiskies, blended in annual batches to achieve a unique harmony of flavors – the recipe will be adjusted according to the precise characteristics of the casks used in each batch.

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: hints of apple, pear, and plum lying over a soft savory smokiness and hints of oregano and clementine.
Taste: gentle floral and citrus fruitiness providing a lightness and elegance. As it expands, its vanilla custard creaminess and silkiness come to the fore.
Mouthfeel: complex, multi-layered, and rich.
Finish: long-lasting, with a mellow, cushioning sweet smokiness and soft hints of white pepper and oregano.

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