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The worlds of bourbon and Japanese whisky have met before, but the most synergistic collaboration has come from the most obvious source—Beam Suntory, which owns both the James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Kentucky (home of Jim Beam) and Japan’s House of Suntory. Their latest whiskey collaboration is called Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend, a bourbon distilled in Kentucky and blended in Japan.
Beam Suntory released Legent in 2019, and while that release was the inspiration for this new expression it was a very different whiskey. Seventh-generation Beam master distiller, Fred Noe, and fifth-generation chief blender for Suntory, Shinji Fukuyo, created both whiskeys, but the first Legent was a blend of Kentucky bourbon finished in wine and sherry casks that was distilled and blended in Clermont, Kentucky. Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend was also distilled in bourbon country, but the liquid was then shipped to Japan where Fukuyo finished and blended it.
The base of the whiskey is an eight-year-old Kentucky bourbon. After that liquid arrived at the Yamazaki Distillery just outside of Kyoto, Fukuyo finished a portion of it in French oak wine casks and Spanish oak sherry barrels for a period of time. Then some of the whiskey was placed into sherry casks that were used to age Yamazaki single malt. Finally, all three of these whiskeys were blended together, along with some more of the eight-year-old bourbon, to become Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend. “[Creating] this limited-edition release that is finished by the climate of Yamazaki Distillery, creating its unique matured aroma, and reimagined with our blending techniques has been an exciting endeavor,” said Fukuyo in a statement. “The result is a first-of-its-kind whiskey with new layers of rounded and complex flavors.”
This new release coincides with the celebration of 100 anniversary of Suntory, which was marked by the launch of some special limited-edition Yamazaki whiskies and a collaboration with filmmaker Sophia Coppola and actor Keanu Reeves, as we reported recently. Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend is bottled at a strong 57 percent ABV, and is available for a limited time throughout the U.S. for an SRP of $200 (it might be hard to find at the moment as it just launched). If you’d like to try the original Legent to compare and contrast, you can find that available for purchase from ReserveBar.