2023 Japanese Whisky Outlook

100th Anniversary!
March 25, 2023 by

2023 marks a special milestone for Japanese whisky, as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. In October 1923, the Yamazaki Distillery broke ground, and by 1924, it was up and running. Today, Suntory recognizes the launch as 1923, which is why "Since 1923 Year" is printed on every bottle of Yamazaki sold worldwide.

Japanese whisky may not have the same ancient origins as Scotch or Irish whisk(e)y, but it has a rich history and a story that can be traced to specific dates, places, and people. If you're not familiar with the story, there are plenty of resources available, including a narrated tour.

As the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, events are coming back in a big way. In Japan, 2023 will see the return of several whisky festivals, including Whisky Lovers Nagoya, Chichibu Whisky Matsuri, a Tokyo whisky festival, Japanese Whisky Day celebration, Whisky Harbor Kobe, the Tokyo International BarShow, and Biwako Whisky Cruise, just to name a few.

But the biggest buzz surrounding the 100th anniversary is the rumors of limited edition releases from Suntory. While special labels have already been announced, many are speculating that Suntory will release entirely new limited editions of Yamazaki, Hakushu, or both, in celebration of the milestone. Some even speculate that Suntory will release a "Yamazaki Centennial" or other super rare bottling.