Ardray – which Suntory says is "designed to celebrate the excellence of blended Scotch" – takes inspiration from the blending traditions of Japanese whisky and of Suntory's founder Shinjiro Torii, who was himself inspired by Scotch whisky making in the creation of his first Japanese whiskies.
Suntory says its blending team, led by its chief blender for Scotch, Calum Fraser, trialled almost 200 combinations of grain and malt whiskies before settling on the final combination for Ardray. It has been made with spirit from a number of Beam Suntory-owned Scottish distilleries (its portfolio includes Bowmore, Glen Garioch, and Laphroaig) and its partner Edrington (owner of The Macallan, Glen Rothes, and Highland Park).
Ardray is bottled at 48% ABV without chill filtration. The bottles are marked with the year of release and feature an original Scotland-inspired artwork by artist Lia Melia.
Calum Fraser, said: "In creating Ardray, we have combined an exceptional selection of the very best Scotch whisky has to offer with the inspiring talent of Suntory’s blending team to create something new, refreshing and exciting. The time, care and attention to detail taken to source both malt and grain whiskies from some of Scotland's most noted distilleries has allowed us to explore hundreds of blends of Scotch malt and grain whiskies to achieve Ardray's optimum balance of multi-layered flavours.
"Driven by the desire to ensure the true beauty of this blend is greater than the sum of its parts. Ardray promises a rich and complex taste, with a distinctive harmony of flavours: a mild, gently floral, and citrusy fruitiness, with a vanilla custard creaminess and a rich, silky mouthfeel and lengthy aftertaste that is unmatched."
Ardray will initially only be available in London, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and New York, before being released in more global markets, with a recommended price of £60 (US$80) per 70cl bottle.