In a delightful move that combines artistry and spirits, Studio Ghibli’s legendary co-founders, Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki, have ventured into the world of whisky. Their latest creation? The enchanting “Totoro Whisky.”
The Japanese public relations and news company PR Times announced the collaboration on its official website early last week. The Ghibli founders designed the label design for Ukiyo, which showcases the kanji for “Ukiyo” (drawn by Suzuki) and a stylized illustration of Studio Ghibli’s official mascot, Totoro (drawn by Miyazaki).
A Spirited Collaboration
Studio Ghibli, renowned for its captivating animated films like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke, has long held a special place in the hearts of cinephiles worldwide. Now, the studio’s creative genius extends beyond the silver screen and into the realm of distilled spirits.
The brainchild of Miyazaki and Suzuki, “Totoro Whisky” is a rice whisky with a 50-percent alcohol content. Distilled by Kumesen Shuzo in Okinawa, this liquid masterpiece is aged in American white oak casks, infusing it with warmth and character. Just like the magical forests and whimsical creatures that populate Studio Ghibli’s films, “Totoro Whisky” promises to transport drinkers to a realm of wonder and nostalgia.
The Journey to “Totoro Whisky”
The decision to create this unique whisky came after Studio Ghibli faced a critical juncture. With Miyazaki’s age beginning to dent his perfectionism, the studio grappled with the question of succession. Miyazaki’s son, Goro, was considered a potential heir to the throne, but he firmly rejected the idea. “It is too much to shoulder by myself,” Goro, an anime director, asserted. The studio needed a solution to secure its long-term future.
Enter Nippon TV, the private broadcaster that has been a steadfast supporter of Studio Ghibli since 1985. Nippon TV, which will become Ghibli’s largest shareholder, stepped in to acquire the studio. The deal ensures that Studio Ghibli’s autonomy remains intact, even as it becomes a subsidiary of Nippon TV. The financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed, but the commitment to preserving Ghibli’s legacy is unwavering.
Kumesen Shuzo describes the taste as “spicy like spearmint and cinnamon” with a “thick taste of sweetness and sourness reminiscent of bitter chocolate” and a “long-lasting tropical finish.” It recommends drinking the whisky straight or carbonated with soda water and mentions that it “goes well with smoked dishes such as beef jerky and smoked salmon, as well as chocolate and vanilla ice cream.”
A Toast to Creativity
As we raise our glasses to “Totoro Whisky,” we celebrate not only its exquisite flavor but also the indomitable spirit of Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki, the maestro of animation, and Suzuki, the studio’s president, continue to inspire generations with their boundless imagination. Now, with “Totoro Whisky,” they invite us to savor a taste of magic—a libation that bridges the gap between reality and fantasy.
So, next time you settle down to watch a Studio Ghibli classic, consider pouring yourself a dram of “Totoro Whisky.” Let its golden hues and gentle whispers carry you away, just as Totoro’s umbrella carried Mei and Satsuki through the rain-drenched forest.
In the words of Hayao Miyazaki himself, “The wind is rising; we must try to live.” And perhaps, with each sip of “Totoro Whisky,” we do just that—imbibing life, art, and a touch of enchantment.