Laphroaig owner Beam Suntory has released a new blended Scotch that combines malt and grain whiskies from the Highlands, Lowlands and Islands, called Ardray.The expression is described as a ‘new interpretation’ of blended Scotch. Ardray was created in partnership between Beam Suntory’s chief blender for Scotch, Calum Fraser, and Suntory’s blending team. Together, they tested nearly 200 different whisky combinations before settling on the final blend. Beam Suntory owns the Bowmore, Laphroaig, Auchentoshan, and Ardmore Scotch distilleries. The company said it drew liquid from a ‘handful’ of its Scotch distilleries, as well as whisky from its partner, Scottish spirits firm Edrington, owner of The Macallan, Glenrothes and Highland Park. The creation of Ardray was also inspired by historic blends and the vision of Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii, who a century ago ‘envisioned a Japanese approach to create a subtle, refined, yet complex whisky that would suit the delicate palate of the Japanese’. Suntory is known for its Hibiki and Yamazaki Japanese whiskies. Each batch of Ardray was 'engineered to achieve the same harmony between malt and grain whiskies each time'. A proportion of each batch was also retained to be blended with the next batch. Fraser said: "In creating Ardray, we have combined an exceptional selection of the very best Scotch whisky has to offer with the inspiring talent of Suntory’s blending team to create something new, refreshing and exciting. “The time, care and attention to detail taken to source both malt and grain whiskies from some of Scotland's most noted distilleries has allowed us to explore hundreds of blends of Scotch malt and grain whiskies to achieve Ardray's optimum balance of multi-layered flavours. “Ardray promises a rich and complex taste, with a distinctive harmony of flavours: a mild, gently floral, and citrusy fruitiness, with a vanilla custard creaminess and a rich, silky mouthfeel and lengthy aftertaste that is unmatched." From the end of May, a limited batch of under 2,000 nine-litre cases will be sold in only four cities: London, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and New York. It will then become available in more markets globally. Ardray (48% ABV) is now available to buy from The Whisky Shop with an RRP of £60/US$80. In 2019, Suntory merged the worlds of Irish, Scotch, American, Canadian and Japanese whiskies to create a ‘world whisky’ blend, called Ao.