When Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation premiered in 2003, the film’s iconic “Suntory Time” scene catapulted the House of Suntory to international fame. For years now, the whisky house’s name has been associated with the image of Bill Murray raising his glass to the camera, wryly reciting the words, “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”
But even before the release of the film, the House of Suntory has long been a trailblazer in the cultural phenomenon of Japanese whisky. The brand’s Yamazaki Distillery, established in 1923, is the first and oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan. Every spirit it has produced since—each proudly created with great innovation and utmost artistry—is a reflection of Japanese culture, philosophy and tradition. Now, a century later, it has cemented itself as an esteemed hallmark of Japanese excellence on the international stage.
In celebration of its 100-year anniversary, the House of Suntory is bringing The Legacy Continues: 100 Years of Suntory Whisky Innovation to Singapore. Held at the ArtScience Museum from 13 to 17 July, the exhibition uncovers the Japanese whisky house’s storied legacy—taking guests through a century-long journey of extraordinary whisky craftsmanship.
Step in, and you’ll first be greeted by an immersive environment that mirrors the richness of nature surrounding the Yamazaki distillery where the House of Suntory was born. Surrounded by the soothing sound of flowing water and the clean scent of bamboo, visitors can indulge in a refreshing welcome drink.
Next, you will be transported to 1950s Tokyo, an age where bar culture amongst the Japanese was at its peak. Iconic Suntory ads, artworks and visuals come together to reflect the defining moments in the evolution of drinking culture in Japan, as interactive displays give visitors the chance to superimpose themselves on the giant electronic billboards that were characteristic of the country back then.
Head to the screening room after, where a private cinema space plays a special showing of the Suntory Anniversary Tribute. In a full-circle moment that pays homage to the brand’s cultural history, the film was directed by Coppola. Telling the remarkable story of the brand’s heritage and whisky-making legacy over the last century, it paints a picture of what “Suntory Time” is, through the eyes of the person who coined the term. Accompanying the tribute is a preview of mini docu-series The Nature and Spirit of Japan. Starring Keanu Reeves—who appeared in a series of iconic Suntory advertisements in the ‘90s—the series captures the intrinsic ties between Japanese whisky and the tenets of Japanese culture.
The experience culminates in a whisky tasting session at the bar. The heart of the exhibition, the serene space takes inspiration from the unique phenomenon of Tokyo listening bars, where music is a priority and conversation takes a backseat. Through immersive projections, playlists and performances, visitors will be transported to three distinct eras of Japanese culture—as a selection of whisky flights and cocktails reflect each age.
Alongside the exhibition, centennial celebrations also extend to the House of Suntory Masters, a series of dining collaborations with eight renowned chefs, each a master of a distinctive cuisine. Look forward to carefully curated menus that perfectly complement Suntory’s finest spirits, including a range of rare and limited whiskies that diners will have the opportunity to experience.
Aside from that, the global launch of the House of Suntory’s limited-time-offer whiskies at the Changi Airport Terminal 1 transit area will also give travellers a first glimpse at the exclusive spirits. Here, you can sample some of the whisky house’s craft spirits and purchase the limited-edition bottles with bespoke gifting options.
It is a fitting celebration, given the magnitude of the occasion. Beyond being a momentous achievement for the House of Suntory, the centennial is a major milestone for Japanese spirits culture as a whole—marking a century’s worth of sacred heritage, painstaking craftsmanship and groundbreaking whisky innovation.
To book tickets or learn more about House of Suntory’s centennial celebrations, visit houseofsuntory100.com.sg.