Shinji Fukuyo, Chief Blender of Beam Suntory, makes his mark in the Indian whisky segment and combines the finest Scotch malts and American bourbon using Japanese blending craft
The world-renowned blender, Shinji Fukuyo, Chief Blender of Beam Suntory, crafted two variants of Indian whisky — Oaksmith and Oaksmith Gold — using traditional Japanese craftsmanship blended with the finest Scotch malt whiskies and American bourbons to make it unique and authentic as per the Indian taste. The global premium spirits company launched a range of four premium spirits in India, signaling its commitment and strategy to grow in the country with its ambition to reach USD 1 billion in revenue by 2030. In addition, the iconic Japanese whiskies Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve and Hibiki Japanese Harmony along with Roku Japanese Craft gin have also been launched from The House of Suntory portfolio.
The launch event of was graced by Shinji Fukuyo, the creator of the luxury and iconic blends of Hibiki and Yamazaki whiskies and Neeraj Kumar, MD of Beam Suntory India along with George Kumekawa, Representative, The House of Suntory.
“We are thrilled by the appreciation that Hibiki and Yamazaki have received from consumers worldwide and their popularity among spirits aficionados in India. The growing premiumisation of the Indian market and the appreciation for finely crafted spirits made this the right time to launch these brands, along with Roku gin. Indians today are well-travelled and exposed to global trends, which inspired the creation of Oaksmith for whisky lovers in India,” said Neeraj Kumar.
Talking about Oaksmith and Oaksmith Gold, he said, “The beautiful blend incorporates years of tradition that the Beam Suntory family upholds while showcasing Shinji-san’s award-winning blending capabilities making it a whisky that, quite simply, no one else could possibly create.”
Oaksmith is a celebration of mastery and global collaboration, combining the best of East and West in a bottle. It’s a harmonious blend of matured Scotch malts that adds a strong flavour profile and American bourbon whisky aged for at least four years in American Oak barrels, which lends it an unmatched smoothness. That gives the brand its unique name and also inspires the round bottle labels celebrating its distinctive craftsmanship. Befitting the distinct flavour palate, the six-sided bottle with beveled edges and a tall neck has an ergonomic design that is an ode to the finest Japanese craftsmanship and makes it stand tall in this category.
A relentless quest for perfection and commitment to using only the highest quality ingredients encapsulates Suntory’s philosophy to create the finest spirit possible. Shinji Fukuyo, Chief Blender at Suntory, said, “My travels across the world have helped me understand and appreciate sophisticated flavour profiles. Blending spirits is about creating a harmonious flavour by weaving culture and tradition along with one’s own form of self-expression. This is an art in itself and I am very grateful that people globally have appreciated the quality and artistry of Hibiki and Yamazaki, and hopefully now, Oaksmith.” He added, “While making this blend, I wanted to ensure that it resonates well with the Indian audience while being truly international in its spirit. I travelled across the country to understand the different food cultures and flavours. Eventually what I saw, heard and tasted, helped me explore a variety of flavour profiles and finalise this harmonious blend which has the best of America, Scotland and Japanese craftsmanship. I am extremely proud as the final product completely reimagines what the future of Indian whisky can be.”
Much like The House of Suntory, Oaksmith blend is made using the finest ingredients and sincerity of process that is a hallmark of Beam Suntory’s Japanese heritage. From seed to sip, the whisky is meticulously crafted to achieve a blend like no other resulting in a bold spirit that is rich on the nose yet approachable and well-balanced on one’s palate with a bright, smooth and unexpectedly long finish. The unique offering will be available at the price of an Indian whisky and the flavourful palate will be well suited to both beginners and connoisseurs alike.
On the rising popularity of gin in India, George Kumekawa, Representative, The House of Suntory, said, “In recent years, we have noticed a strong trend among Indians to opt for premium and craft gin as their spirit of choice as it has a softer flavour profile which is easier on the throat and refreshing in its appeal — perfect for brunches and refreshment occasions. With the introduction of Roku gin in India, we are looking to further build the market for both gin as well as craft spirits to help enthusiasts discover new tastes and experiences.”