KARUIZAWA: A LEGEND IN THE WORLD OF JAPANESE WHISKY

Over the last few weeks, FINE+RARE is delighted to have been given access to a selection of supremely rare and highly collectible whiskies from the legendary, but now-defunct, Japanese distillery Karuizawa.

 

Established in 1955 in the foothills of an active volcano complex near Miyoto, Karuizawa was Japan’s smallest distillery, producing just 150,000 litres of spirit per year. The distillery prided itself in employing traditional, small-scale whisky making methods: importing Golden Promise barley from Britain, using small stills and European oak ex-sherry casks for maturation. The water used in production flowed over Mount Asama’s volcanic lava beds, lending the whisky its unique character and strength.

 

Distilling ceased in 2000 and following years of negotiation, the last few hundred casks of Karuizawa were acquired by Number One Drinks Company in 2011. With stocks now dwindling and the popularity of rare single-malt whiskies at an all-time high worldwide, demand has soared for these limited edition, single-cask bottlings. Accordingly, Karuizawa presents an incredible proposition for discerning whisky connoisseurs and collectors alike.

 

 

FOUR GARDENS

 

This rare series consists of four expressions of Karuizawa single malt whisky, each between 30 and 35 years old. Named after four of Japan’s finest landscape gardens, this tiny 108-bottle release constitutes one of the lowest volume series ever to reach the market – and it is destined to become one of the most sought-after:

 

Karuizawa 1981 Kairaku-en (55.3%)

33 Years Old

Distilled March 1981; Bottled July 2014

Just 30 bottles produced

£6,250 per bottle in bond

 

Karuizawa 1985 Kenroku-en (55.2%)

30 Years Old

Distilled August 1985; Bottled August 2015

Just 30 bottles produced

£6,250 per bottle in bond 

 

Karuizawa 1981 Koraku-en (54.5%)

33 Years Old

Distilled March 1981; Bottled April 2014

Just 24 bottles produced

£6,250 per bottle in bond

 

Karuizawa 1978 Koishikawa-Korakuen (63%)

35 Years Old

Distilled December 1978; Bottled July 2014

Just 24 bottles produced

£6,250 per bottle in bond

 

Available later this year, FINE+RARE was delighted to offer an unprecedented opportunity to secure the entire series prior to release, circumventing the usual lottery system which leaves securing an allocation to luck.

 

 

CHERRY TREE

 

Presented in a stunning scarlet decanter embellished with real gold to complement the previous Four Gardens series, Cherry Tree is one of the final whiskies made at the now-silent distillery. Comprising the last cask available from our source, the likelihood is that we’ll never see another Karuizawa this rare and in such minimal quantities again – particularly at release price.

 

Karuizawa Cherry Tree (50.5%)

Cask strength

Distilled 1999-2000

Just 36 bottles produced

£3,000 per bottle in bond 

 

This is a truly compelling opportunity for those in the enviable position of being able to secure a bottle or two.