World Whisky Day was started 11 years ago by Blair Bowman. Blair is a whisky consultant who contributes monthly to Scottish Field Magazine and has written the Pocket Guide to Whisky: featuring the Whisky Tube Map. According to him “World Whisky Day is an annual, global day of whisky, which invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life.” From their website www.worldwhiskyday.com the ways to celebrate are pretty simple. Simply find a way to enjoy whisky (straight, on the rocks, in a cocktail) and share on social media outlets using the tag line #worldwhiskyday. Not wanting to disappoint I felt obliged to join in celebrating this day of whisky.
While shopping this week at the neighborhood Aeon Max Value I came across AO, World Whisky from Suntory. I saw this as a sign that World Whisky Day would best be celebrated with AO World Whiskey. Suntory has blended Scotch, Irish, Canadian, American and Japanese whiskies into one bottle. From Scotland the distilleries of Ardmore and Glen Garioch Distillery contribute a smokey with honey and heathery spice notes. The Cooley Distillery in Ireland is the youngest whiskey maker in the blend being founded in 1989. Canada’s Alberta Distillery contributes a rye sweetness to the mix. Suntory does not deliver what attributes are contributed by America’s Jim Beam Clairmont Distillery, but they do mention the prevelance of bourbon in the distilleries production and one can assume bourbon characteristics are contributed to the final product. Finally Suntory’s distilleries of Hakashu and Yamazaki contribute delicate and herbal flavors.
The bottle describes the contents as having a various expressions such as a thick and smoky taste. It also describes a mellow scent and taste. It was named after the sea which connects all nations in the world. With all of those flavors put together this can turn out to be really good or completely undrinkable. Being from a solid whisky producer such as Suntory I have hopes that this is fantastic, but because I found this in a grocery store liquor isle it may end up terrible.
There is a practice of making “infinity bottles” of whisky. This is when whisky drinkers take take the final bits of one bottle and collect them into a community bottle. Because new whisky is continually being added as other bottles empty this community bottle is infinitely filled. My first thought when I saw this bottle of AO World Whisky was that it seems like a similar concept except the beverage comes from a master blender from a well established whisky producers such as Suntory.
The whisky has an amber color with thin long legs. I initial picked up a woody smokiness to the aroma. This is not the peaty smoke aromas found in Islay Scotches but more of a camp fire smoke scent. Behind the smoke I picked up an apple to pineapple aroma. A sweet caramel like aroma with a heavy vanilla scent is also prevalent. The sample definitly has many layers of aroma swirling around but none are violently or unpleasantly competing with each other. The initial flavor is a spiciness on the tip of the tongue. There is a sweet smokey flavor that caries through the entire taste and into the aftertaste. An alcohol tingliness on the sides of the mouth and tongue defines the alcohol heat to the taste. There is no sharp unpleasant burn from the alcohol. The lingering aftertaste reminds me of the background woody minty taste of Copenhagen® dip.
I enjoyed sitting and sniffing the glass trying to pull out different flavors I was picking up. Because there are so many from the contributing whiskies it was easy to see if I could pick out the characteristics of each style. The flavor was not nearly as complex as the aroma. While still pleasant the taste was a simpler sweet woodsy herbal flavor.
I would recommend either enjoying this by itself or you could use this in a sauce or glaze for any cooking that calls for smokiness or woody earthy flavors. If I were to pair this with a food I would go for a crème brûlée. The sweet vanilla flavors of the desert along with the toasted crust would emphasize the complimentary flavors and aromas of AO World Whisky. Overall I enjoyed the drink and was not disappointed in my grocery store find.