Are you a connoisseur of whisky from all around the world? Would you like to learn more about one of Japan’s most intriguing liquors? Let’s take a closer look at why Karuizawa whisky is legendary in Japan and why it is rare and considered priceless.
This whiskey is a legend. In 1955, the Karuizawa distillery was opened in Miyota, Japan located near the active volcano, Mount Asama. The distillery contained four small stills and imported Golden Promise barley from Scotland which was then used in the whisky-making process, and then aged in Sherry casks. However, unfortunately, the distillery started to decline in 2001 and as a result, their stocks slowly decreased in the market. As a result, the remaining bottles have now become more of a collector’s item for whisky enthusiasts.
Karuizawa whisky is single malt which means that it hasn’t been blended with anything except malted barley and was stored in one distillery. It’s an old, rare type of whisky, that is very high in quality and as a result is quite expensive. The Isetan luxury department store in Shinjuku occasionally sells single cask bottlings of Karuizawa for around $100 USD a bottle. However, speculation is rampant among the older editions where some of the 1960 editions retail for around $20,000 USD each.
More whisky was produced in limited quantities after Number One Drinks purchased the stocks for the whisky distillery and in 2011, all the remaining barrels were moved to Chichibu when the British-based Number One Drinks Company bought them. The owner of the company, Marcin Miller, is a connoisseur of Karuizawa whisky and is still around to this day. The last of the stocks are being bottled year by year at a slow and steady rate.
Also, it has been said by several whisky experts that Karuizawa provides an extraordinary experience for all of one’s senses, as your taste buds and nose tingle with pleasure with every sip. It is known to have a sweet yet earthy smell and a very strong flavour. Some enthusiasts even go as far as to say that Karuizawa is a perfect representation of Japan’s values of balance and harmony.
So, I hope this introduction has helped to explain the quality of Karuizawa and how the somewhat extravagant price tag reflects the standard of this rare drop of whisky. If you are a lover of whisky, definitely keep an eye out for Karuizawa whisky on your travels throughout Japan!