ARDRAY MAY TASTE OF SCOTLAND, BUT ITS JAPANESE ACCENT IS COURTESY OF SUNTORY'S AWARD-WINNING BLENDING TEAM.
Suntory’s blenders approached Ardray in celebration of the craft of blending whisky, honed in Scotland, drawing on the history, heritage and experience that makes Scotch so highly regarded. Thanks to a exacting precision and an artistic approach, we think they’ve created something truly special.
Can you taste their passion and artistry in each bottle of Ardray?
The Suntory blending philosophy emphasizes deep care and meticulous attention to detail. The team went to great lengths to understand the essence and excellence of Scotch whiskies throughout history. They eventually focused on the same blended Scotches from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that first inspired our founder, Shinjiro Torii. Known for complex, rich and characterful flavour and a smooth style, these Scotches best represent the elegant and refined blends the team sought to reinvent.
To capture that distinctly Scottish taste, the Suntory team analyzed how each distillery’s terroir and processes contribute to the flavour and character of their whiskies. They studied how the impact of different climates, water, and terrain influence the flavour of each whisky, and how traditional methods like floor malting elevate the characteristics of the new make spirit.
With this knowledge, the blenders were able to focus on their artistry and select whiskies that would create a multi-layered taste, and balance the best of what Scotland has to offer.
THEIR NEXT CHALLENGE? MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY WHISKY IN THE BLEND, AND FIND THE POINT WHERE NO SINGLE FLAVOUR OVERWHELMS, BUT INSTEAD COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER PERFECTLY.
For the blending process, the team started with a blend of 5% malt and 95% grain, then worked meticulously through every 5% increment to a 95% malt and 5% grain blend. Once they identified a particular range of balance they sought to achieve, the team created a blend at every 1% increment within this 15-percentage point range. This is how they pinpointed the perfect malt-rich ratio where neither the malts nor grains dominated the flavour, but instead elevated the entire blend.
This diligent process may not be the only way to create a blended Scotch Whisky, but it’s our way of crafting the Ardray blend.
Ultimately, the final blend represents the point of exquisite balance. Our signature malts, matured in rich, spicy Spanish oak casks and smooth, sweet floral American oak casks, play harmoniously with an elegant, buttery and distinctly viscous-thick texture of grain whiskies.
THE ARTISTS’ WORK DOESN’T END WITH THAT FIRST PERFECT BATCH.
To maintain the team’s precise balance in every batch of Ardray, the casks of each type of whisky in the blend are emptied separately, so we can appreciate the exact characteristics of that batch. Since each cask matures differently, this ensures we can make precise alterations to maintain the perfect balance of each whisky. Once we’ve blended our batch to exacting proportions, we allow it to slowly marry together to develop the full flavour of Ardray.
Finally, we employ a ‘Double Solera Process’, where we separately retain a portion of the malt and grain whiskies that go into the final blend, to ensure a consistency of flavour. We also keep an additional portion of the final blend, to integrate into the next batch.This creates a harmonised flavour across every batch. As each contains a small portion of the previous batches, we are weaving together both the past and present blends on our quest to continually create better expressions of Ardray.
This is why each of our bottles is marked with the year in which it was released — a symbol that every batch is its own creation in Ardray's pursuit of perfection.
Ardray is an artist’s vision of Scotch whisky.
It is the Suntory blenders’ homage to traditional blended Scotch whisky and a flavourful show of respect. It is an expression of genuine passion for Scotch whisky and a reinterpretation of what blended Scotch whisky could be. Each batch a unique rendering of our vision for blended Scotch whisky.
Inspired by Scotland, blended by the Suntory team in Japan and enjoyed by whisky drinkers around the world, Ardray is designed to expand your mind and your palate’s expectations of blended Scotch whisky.
Expression of a Quest
The heritage, tradition, and wild terroir of Scotland. The delicate artistry of Suntory blenders from Japan.
Ardray is a Blended Scotch whisky that challenges expectations. Each bottle holds a fresh perspective on what Blended Scotch whisky can be.