For those of you familiar with Japanese pop culture, you’d probably know about how Japanese TV commercials are made to be whacky, weird, and perhaps creepy (depending on how you see it). And it seems the Japanese whisky business have a few of its own too.
What’s rather surprising about them were the heavy use of big Hollywood names and figures. Another surprise was just how old some of these were, with some commercials dating back to times before the global rise of Japanese whisky that kicked off at the turn of the new millennium.
For this week’s #WhiskyWednesdays, we decided to scour the big, wide world of the web to find some of these Japanese whisky commercials for your viewing pleasure. Here’s what we came up with.
Orson Welles – G&G Whisky (Nikka)
We’ll start with one of the oldest produced by the Nikka Whisky Distilling Co. Ltd. for its G&G Whisky brand and featured Orson Welles.
Surprisingly, the most revered Japanese whisky marque and the entertainment world’s equally revered icon came together for a brilliantly simple advertisement, with the latter describing perfection in pairing his fine cigar paired with the former’s G&G Whisky.
Sammy Davis Jr – Suntory Whisky (Beam Suntory Inc)
Next comes something that had soul and funk (literally!) in a very simple one-take advertisement for the famed Suntory brand.This commercial featured prolific musician-actor-comedian Sammy Davis Jr casually pour a serving of Suntory on rocks in between cigarette puffs whilst making funky music via his ad-hoc (read ad-lib) scat.
This was perhaps the first of many memorable commercials produced by Suntory for its brands (Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki), but it also was the last that was actually cool – everything just got whacky and weird after.
Keanu Reeves – Suntory Reserve (Beam Suntory Inc)
Like we said above, Suntory advertisements became rather bizarre and weird after Sammy Davis Jr’s musical scat. Take this complex one for instance that featured Keanu Reeves for Suntory Reserve.
You’re guess is as good as ours as to what Keanu and Suntory were trying to say here. We reckon that cat that either had shape-shifting or supernatural abilities to transform into a gorgeous bombshell of a woman in a rather seductive black dress.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Jim Beam (Beam Suntory Inc)
Whilst the firm went down the weird-and-bizarre route with the Suntory brand, Beam Suntory Inc showed some restraint in this Japan-only TV advertisement for its American-born bourbon brand Jim Beam that featured actor and heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio.
The coolest part (literally!) about this ad was the intricate way Leo chose to make his Jim Beam with crushed rocks in a glass serving in this 15-second spot.
Sean Connery – Suntory Crest (Beam Suntory Inc)
Given that Scotch whisky had inspired Japanese whisky anyways, it was only a matter of time before one of these brands got an actual Scotsman to endorse their creations. That came when arguable the best ever James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery signed up to do two spots for Suntory Crest in the early 1990s.
Despite the seemingly ‘romantic’ soundtrack, the aura of relaxation and sophistication was evidently clear.
But wait! There’s more…
Apart from these guys, other big Hollywood and global names have had a hand in Japanese whisky commercials too. These include Mickey Rourke, Roy Scheider, Jean Reno, Peter Falk, as well as renowned filmmakers Francis Ford Copolla and Akira Kurosawa.
You can see the rest plus what we’ve listed individually above in the Japanese whisky advertisement supercut video posted below.
Want to try some Japanese whisky?
By the way, we’re hosting another another edition of our signature Premium Japanese Whisky Tasting event later this month as well in Vineria.It @ Bangsar Shopping Centre ( Google Maps / Waze ) on Thursday, 20 July 2017 from 7:30pm onwards.
As always, admission and entry into to our tasting events are exclusive to ticket-holders only, and seats are limited once again. Head on over to our Secret Menu section or click here to purchase your tickets now @ RM179 per pax.
About Editor 2.0
An avid boozer and word-stringer who's paid to drink and write for the revamped Boozeat Blog 2.0
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