When a young Azuma Makoto moved to Tokyo in 1997, he dreamt of being a rock musician, but a fortuitous stint as a trader in Japan’s Ota Market inspired him to instead pursue a career with flowers. He soon opened his own floral shop and, by 2005, started exploring the floral designs that would define his career.
As it happens, 2005 was the year Glenmorangie began the 18-year aging process for the single malt expression that would eventually bear Makoto’s name and distinctive floral designs. Glenmorangie 18-Year-Old X Azuma Makoto Highland Single Malt was born in stills the height of a giraffe, the spirit spends 15 years aging in bourbon barrels before spending another three years in Oloroso sherry casks. The result is a malt with deep gold color and a rich nose of dried fruit and floral notes.
To create the bottle and box artwork, Dancing Flowers of Glenmorangie, Makoto incorporated nearly 100 different blooms from around the world, coaxing each to blossom at his Tokyo studio. He drew inspiration from the single malt’s nose and taste, which he likened to a flower in bloom.
“It begins with rich, rounded aromas of dried fruits and honey, then unfurls into a bouquet of geranium, tuberose, and jasmine,” he said. “They dance on the tongue with honeysuckle and sweet pea, figs, and nuts until the blossoms fade into a sweet and lingering finish.” Naturally, Glenmorangie recommends serving this $174 whisky neat.
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