Suntory Toki

Suntory Toki Review

Producer: Suntory
Country: Japan
Age: No age statement
abv: 43%

The newest entry to the Suntory stable, Toki is a blend made up of spirit from the company’s three distilleries: Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. The latter – a grain distillery – reportedly makes up the bulk of this whisky, which helps explain the rather modest price tag. Although Toki may be meant more for the bar scene, the fact is that there isn’t really another affordable entry-level Suntory bottling out there (at least not in Europe). This means that Toki may be the first encounter many whisky drinkers have with Suntory, and unfortunately it’s not one that does justice to the amazing range the company has to offer. There’s Suntory The Chita, but this is of course a single grain whisky. In this sense, Nikka has really stolen a march on Suntory, with excellent bottlings like Nikka from the Barrel and Nikka Coffey Malt that are bound to excite and entice someone to further explore the range.

Toki is Japanese for time. It’s an odd choice given that this whisky doesn’t carry an age statement and probably hasn’t matured for all that long, but perhaps it’s a nod to that classic line from Lost in Translation..? Either way, it certainly is time to give Toki a try.

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Cameronbridge: The Unsung Hero of Scottish Whisky Production

Ask someone to name the largest producing whisky distillery in Scotland, and people will invariably choose Glenlivet or Glenfiddich, one of the single malts that is ubiquitous in shops and bars around the world. The real answer however is a distillery few will ever have heard about: Cameronbridge. With a production as high as the 20 largest malt whisky distilleries combined, Cameronbridge truly is the unknown giant of the Scottish whisky industry.

The reason so few people have heard of Cameronbridge is because it does not have its own single malt on the shelves. In fact, it does not even produce malt whisky at all. Instead, Cameronbridge is a grain distillery, and forms the foundation upon which Diageo built its whisky empire. Nothing like the picturesque distilleries often associated with the traditional art of whisky making, Cameronbridge is a huge industrial complex, an efficient machine that spews out over 200 litres of alcohol every minute. Each week, the distillery uses 50 million litres of water, 3500 tonnes of wheat and 15 tonnes of yeast, to achieve an annual production of 120 million litres of alcohol. By comparison, the output of all Islay distilleries combined adds up to only around 16 million litres. Cameronbridge’s grain whisky is used in practically all of Diageo’s big selling blends, from Johnnie Walker to J&B’s, to Bell’s and Vat 69, to name but a few. Moreover, the distillery now also produces gin and vodka, since Gordon’s and Smirnoff moved their production to Cameronbridge. Add to this schnapps such as Malibu, Pimm’s and Archers and it is easy to see why Cameronbridge produces over 80% of all white spirit consumed in the UK. Despite this fact, whisky continues to account for over two-thirds of the distillery’s output.

Cameronbridge distillery

An aerial view of Cameronbridge distillery.

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