1980 Karuizawa Golden Samurai (bottled 2015)
Karuizawa was a legendary Japanese distillery located near the ski resort of Nagano, now known to have produced some of the most sensational whiskies the world has ever seen. Founded in the mid-1950's, it regrettably stopped distilling in 2000 after entering financial difficulties. In 2006 a pair of whisky enthusiasts, Marcin Miller and David Croll, after failing to buy the distillery outright, shrewdly purchased all the remaining casks of Karuizawa and by default gained the worldwide distribution rights.
Since then, through their company 'The Number One Drinks Company' they have been releasing Karuizawa very occasionally through specialist retailers in the UK, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan & Poland. Now that the secret is out, these releases are pre-sold so its incredibly hard to get in a look in. Despite the small quantities involved, their reputation for distributing quality whisky is practically untouchable. Furthermore bottles of Karuizawa always carry an age statement and/or vintage on the label and the whisky isn't diluted with water before bottling (ahem, people of Scotland - take note!).
Among whisky circles, it is an often discussed paradox how Karuizawa managed to produce whisky that was of such inimitable quality and style, yet the distillery owners could not produce it in enough quantity (nor market it effectively) to make it a viable business, yet in only a short space of time a pair of enthusiasts have done exactly that. And the world is probably a better place for it.
Describing the typical flavour profile of Karuizawa is difficult, but we'll give it a go... Take the finesse of Yamazaki, the sweetness of Macallan's Sherry Oak and the intriguing smokiness of Islay's finest (think Black Bowmore) and you'll get somewhere near to what Karuizawa have achieved. The mind bends.
Originally released in 2015.
Bottle size: 70cl
Shipped weight: 2kg