A Spirited Exploration of Suntory AO Japanese Whisky




Suntory AO

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Suntory AO is the Japanese whisky you need on your radar. This affordable blended beauty from the legendary Suntory distillery offers a delightful gateway to the world of Japanese whisky. Imagine fresh green apples, honey, delicate flowers, and a whisper of smoky goodness – all expertly balanced for easy sipping or cocktail crafting. If you’re curious about what makes Japanese whisky special, Suntory AO is pure bottled sunshine ready to be savoured.

Suntory AO Table of Contents

An Overview of Suntory AO

Suntory AO

Suntory AO, crafted with highballs and cocktails in mind, joined the distillery’s core lineup in 2020. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Style: Blended Japanese whisky
  • Age: No age statement
  • ABV: 40%
  • Key flavours: Green apple, honey, vanilla, white flowers
  • Production: Blend of malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s Hakushu, Yamazaki, Chita, and Hakushu distilleries
  • Pricing: Approximately £88110 per 750ml bottle

Like many masterful blends, AO brings together younger and more mature whiskies to create its signature flavour. But what exactly is in this magic mix?

The Whiskies Inside Suntory AO

Suntory plays its cards close to the vest, but here’s our educated take on the blend:

  • Grain Whisky:
  • Malt Whiskies:
    • Hakushu New Pot Still – Adds those fresh green apples and herbal notes.
    • Yamazaki First-Fill Bourbon Casks – Provide the classic honeyed vanilla found in aged Japanese whiskies (like the iconic Yamazaki 12-Year ).
    • Hakushu Heavily Peated – A whisper of smoke comes from a touch of peated Hakushu malt.

This careful orchestration of grain and malt is what sets AO apart. Now, time for the best part – tasting!

Reviewing Suntory AO

Here’s a breakdown of what awaits your senses with Suntory AO:


  • Pale gold, clear with light viscosity


  • First Impressions: Fresh green apple, honey, malt, vanilla, white flowers
  • With Water: Honey and florals intensify, and hints of coconut emerge


  • First Sips: Light mouthfeel, honeyed cereals, green apple, vanilla custard, a hint of oak
  • With Water: Fruitiness blossoms, hints of vanilla pudding appear


  • First Impressions: Medium length, green apple, malt, vanilla, a touch of white pepper spice
  • With Water: Gets longer with more spice and warmth

Balance & Complexity

It hits that sweet spot: the grains and malts harmonize beautifully, with enough interesting layers of fruit, florals, honey, vanilla, and spice to keep it far from boring.

Brand Heritage & Storytelling

Suntory is the name of Japanese whisky. They’re famed for their refined, nuanced, and balanced whiskies – and AO fits that lineage. It boasts an accessible flavour profile and price point, making it a fantastic way to dip your toes into this dynamic category.

“If You Like…, You’ll Love…”

  • Like Suntory Toki? AO offers similar light fruitiness and a clean grain palate but with a bit more depth and complexity thanks to those floral notes and a whisper of smoky goodness.
  • Enjoy Floral Blended Scotch? Try AO for a change of pace! It leans a touch sweeter but boasts similar freshness and elegance.

Beyond Sipping: AO Shines Brightly


AO was born to be mixed! Try these easy options:

  • AO Old Fashioned
    • 2 oz Suntory AO
    • 1 sugar cube
    • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
    • Orange twist
  • Japanese Apple
    • 1.5 oz Suntory AO
    • 1.5 oz apple juice
    • 0.5 oz lemon juice
    • 0.5 oz honey syrup
    • Apple slice garnish

Food Pairings

The delicate flavours in AO go perfectly with:

  • Fresh seafood (think sushi, sashimi).
  • Light appetizers.
  • Mild cheeses.
  • Fruit-based desserts.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

If you’re yet to fall in love with Suntory AO, you’re missing out! It’s especially worth it if you enjoy refreshing highballs or an easy sipping dram. It’s a vibrant testament to Japanese craftsmanship at a truly approachable price. Grab a bottle and tell me what you think in the comments below!

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