Post by Nicholas Coldicott
March 2013, Suntory installed four more stills at Yamazaki this year, bringing the total to 16. Last Friday, they shipped in the media hordes to have a look. The event kicked off with a video of trucks carrying the copper beasts through the streets of Yamazaki at night, then cranes hauling them up to an oversize window and plonking them in their new home, a little white private room.
The room used to contain washbacks, and a Yamazaki worker told me it was just a stroke of luck that it was the perfect width and height for four large stills. Officially, Suntory wanted to increase the capacity and variety of the output. The capacity got a hefty 40 percent boost. Breadth-wise, they seem to already have quite a variety of still shapes, and the new ones look quite similar to ones they're already using. Both the wash stills are straight wizard-hat stills. One of the spirit stills is very straight, the other is more stocky with a boil bulb. One of the pairs is heated by direct flame, as most Yamazaki stills are. The other pair gets steam.