Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Karuizawa “Five Decades”

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Update: we have confirmed the outturn with Number One Drinks and there are 200 bottles in total (100 for Japan, 100 for abroad). Rumours circulating that there were only 42 bottles are INCORRECT. Maybe these rumours were started by people looking to flip this bottle who want to make it look like it's more rare than it is.

Last month, a very interesting new Karuizawa was launched at department store Isetan in Shinjuku. It’s a vatting of malt spanning almost the entire history of production at Karuizawa distillery (disregarding a few years at the end of the 50s, a period of trial-and-error anyway) that was married in an ex-Karuizawa cask for a few years and bottled at the end of 2015 in a beautifully engraved decanter. A few cases were made available to customers of Isetan; the remainder will be on the shelves of duty free stores in Japan soon… It’s not cheap, of course, but moaning about Karuizawa prices is becoming a bit old hat, so we’re not going to go there. Let’s focus on the liquid instead!

Karuizawa “Five Decades 1960-2000” (61.4%)

Nose: dried fruits, pecan pie and, initially, hints of wood smoke, vintage leather and prosciutto; after a while, raspberry coulis, sour plums, kumquats and lemon-drizzled baked apples;
Palate: a powerful attack with fresh citrus and spice (shichimi, cloves), then gooseberries, candied ginger, mince pies, chutney and a hint of umeboshi;
Finish: long and intense on candied grapefruit peel, fresh lime, macadamia nut butter and, towards the end, ripe prunes and soba yu.
Fresh, but with incredible depth and complexity, this marks the end of an era: the legendary Karuizawa distillery’s swan song – everything it was condensed into an emotional liquid adieu.


Fib786 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBF said...

Hi Stefan,

Do you know how many bottles will be made?


age said...

only 42 bottles.

Stefan Van Eycken said...

We have confirmed with Number One Drinks that the total outturn was 200 bottles: 100 for the domestic market (those are gone already) and 100 for abroad. The rumour of there only being 42 bottles is incorrect... it may be a confusion with the 1960 Karuizawa or it may just be flippers on auctions trying to make it seem more rare than it is. To reiterate: the total outturn is 200 bottles.