Keanu Reeves can do no wrong. The A-list action star is known for his integrity, humility and a pervading sense of kindness that sets him apart from the ebb and flow of Hollywood celebrity culture. There’s an agelessness to Reeves, and a sense of authenticity. He’s a man who has spent time honing his craft. It makes perfect sense, then, that he has partnered with The House of Suntory to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
The pairing is such a natural fit that it will come as no surprise to learn this isn’t the first time he has worked with the Japanese distiller. Some 30 years ago, Reeves, channelling the energy of his role in 1992’s epic “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, appeared in a charisma-fuelled advertisement for Suntory Reserve. This time, he stars in the Suntory Anniversary Tribute, an evocative look at the history and legacy of the company. The Academy Award-winning director Sofia Coppola is behind the campaign, having returned to Japan for the project some 20 years after shooting “Lost in Translation”, a movie that introduced the House of Suntory to a whole new audience.
In the coming months, Reeves will also represent the brand in a series of documentary shorts that explores the traditional craftsmanship and natural-world inspirations that inform Japanese whisky culture.
Of course, the partnership with Reeves and Coppola is only one element of The House of Suntory’s centennial celebrations, which mark the founding of the company’s Yamazaki Distillery in 1923 — making it the first and oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan. The brand promises several limited-edition releases, including special anniversary labels for its Hakushu 12 Year Old, a fresh and verdant expression of the single malt from its Hakushu mountain distillery, and for its flagship single malt, the Yamazaki 12 Year Old.
The House of Suntory will also launch two new bottles, including the Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt, which promises smokiness with a refined take on peated whisky. The smoke is balanced by a peppery welcome, followed by green fruit and layered herbs. Contrasting this fresh and gentle drop is the Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara, which has been aged exclusively in casks of Mizunara oak, a wood that imparts the complex, subtle taste of Yamazaki. Beyond the irreplaceable element of time that is imbued by these oak barrels, the whisky offers notes of cherry and ripe peach, followed by a little spice on the palette and a long, lingering finish — a masterful expression from a pioneering Japanese distillery.