Friday, May 24, 2013

Memories of Karuizawa 3: 1996/2013

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Today sees the official release of the 3rd Memories of Karuizawa. It’s available to members of Bond#1 right now; from next week, it will also be on the shelves of selected retailers here in Japan.

The 3rd release is one of the few casks left from the 1996 vintage, and it is – in fact – a sister cask (#3684) of our very own Nonjatta Karuizawa (#3681). There’s definitely family resemblance so it won’t surprise you to read that we are quite fond of this new single cask.

On the nose, there’s fruit, of course – assorted berries, dried apricots and raspberry meringue – but there’s also fresh ginger ale and grass in early summer with some very subtle wood smoke in the background. After a while, a nice orange marmalade note comes to the fore, accompanied by over-ripe kiwis, honey-roasted almonds, shiso leaf and a touch of eucalyptus. On the palate, it packs quite a punch neat: orange zest and raspberries on the attack, then slightly under-ripe grapefruit and gooseberries. It really needs water – only then does it reveal its charms on the palate: milk chocolate, hazelnut cream, nougat, candied orange peel again, ramune candy, then caramel pear mousse and pumpkin seed spread. Resistance is futile… it’s a phenomenal amalgam of flavours. The finish is long and lingering on sweet jam notes but with a lovely tart edge.

Now for the bad news: there are only 303 bottles. Since no one will bother to ready any further, we’ll just sign off wishing you a nice weekend... and it will be if you manage to score a bottle of this.

Read more about Karuizawa Distillery here.


Will said...

Definitely a frustrating experience. The site does not update in real time nor does it allow you to purchase the Bond#1 membership and the bottle at the same time. I therefore had to sign up for the membership first only to learn that the bottle was sold out.

Being from the United States, I now have a Bond #1 membership that affords me no other benefits other than the opportunity to purchase bottles of members only scotch (or a Yamazaki that's out of my price range) when all I'm trying to get is Japanese whisky.

I apologize for the rant, I think I'm more frustrated with how difficult it is to get my hands on a bottle of Karuizawa here in the States (or any bottles of quality Japanese whisky for that matter). I've twice ordered Karuizawa from other sites to learn that it had been sold out the day before and now am sitting on a paid membership that provides me no benefits unless I break the bank for the Yamazaki or sit back and hope for additional Japanese whiskies to be added to the site (please tell me that'll be the case beyond just the 2014 TIBS bottles).

Stefan Van Eycken said...

My advice would be to send them a message and explain your problem. They're good people and will do everything they can to help you out.

Will said...

Hi Stefan,

Thanks for the reply. Having read back over my original comment, it definitely came across as that of a bitter individual which I was hoping to avoid. After further consideration, the Bond membership is of value if I'm able to purchase even 1 bottle of quality Japanese whisky given the limited availability here in the U.S.

I remain hopeful with all the talk of increased imports in the near future - yes there's probably some classics I'll miss out on (Karuizawa's and Hanyu's) but I'm excited to start seeing the likes of Chichibu showing up on U.S. shelves.

Stefan Van Eycken said...

Hi Will,

No problem, at all. Your membership will definitely be worth it - trust me. In the meantime, do get in touch with them and tell them about the problem you had. Good luck.

bolete said...

Stefan/Will -

As a resident of the US, I've thought about joining the Bond #1 program. I inquired a while back about shipping to the US and was told they can't use their normal shipping service to send whisky to the US. Have you guys successfully been able to have them ship to the US?


Stefan Van Eycken said...

I don't live in the US (I'm based in Tokyo, Japan), but I know it's very tricky to get alcohol in or out of the US. The best thing to do is check with the people at Bond#1 and see what they say.

Peter B said...

Stefan -

Thanks for the response. I will see what they say, but I'm afraid they will still tell me they can't ship to me unless I have a liquor license.

Luckily I managed to get myself a bottle of #3684 and I am very excited to try it!