Is a Japanese highball in a can as good as a homemade highball? 

Back in June, Suntory surprised us by giving us a new way to enjoy their Hakushu whisky — in a can.

Now, the esteemed whisky maker is following up with another canned version of one of their classics, this time canning their Yamazaki whisky. It’s all part of the 100-year anniversary celebrations, marking a century since Suntory’s founder began whisky-making operations.

Our whisky-loving reporter K. Masami has been eagerly awaiting this new release since she first heard about it a few months back, but when she went out to look for it when it was released on 8 August, she couldn’t find it anywhere.

As time progressed, Masami began to fear that she may have missed her opportunity to try the new drink to its obvious popularity, but eventually, to her absolute delight, she was able to find one at a convenience store, priced at 600 yen (US$4.13) plus tax.

While this might sound expensive for a 350-millilitre (12-ounce) can, as of 17 August, the lowest price for a 180-millilitre (6-ounce) bottle of Hakushu on Amazon is 2,800 yen, while the lowest price for a 180-millilitre bottle of Yamazaki is 3,565 yen, which makes the can a very good deal.

Masami had been incredibly satisfied with the can of Hakushu she tried back in June, so she had high expectations for this can of Yamazaki. It’s recommended to drink the highball with ice, so she poured it into a glass with ice, and when she did, the distinctive scent of Yamazaki hit her nostrils, and that alone was enough to satisfy her.

▼ However, when she drank it, she would be in for an even greater treat.

The Yamazaki had a faint sweetness, a gorgeous flavour, and an easy-to-drink, refreshing taste. It was absolutely delicious! With Japanese whisky being so hard to get these days, Masami began to wish Suntory would produce more canned whiskies, given that they do so well to produce highball cans of such high quality. In fact, she reckons the company would do well to put more effort into producing cans rather than bottles, but first she needed to try her own homemade version to compare.

As mentioned earlier, the Yamazaki bottle above was expensive, so it felt like a waste to open it. There wasn’t much there so she was glad to use only small glasses for the tasting, but she still made sure to put an adequate amount in, with ice and soda to ensure an even tasting.

However, when she sipped her highball, it just wasn’t as good as the one in the can. It was slightly darker in colour, and slightly stronger in taste, which put the balance off. However, the well-rounded depth of flavour in the canned version was incredible — a true testament to Suntory’s skill with whisky.

Her only criticism about the can was how hard it was to get, and with only a limited quantity being made, Masami may never be able to find another one again. So if you do find one of these on a store shelf in Japan, be sure to buy it — you won’t be disappointed, and if you can find some of those giant chocolate twigs to enjoy it with, even better!

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