Karuizawa 30 Year Old Single Cask #4201 / Samurai
Karuizawa distillery was the smallest distillery in Japan. The distillery was established in 1955 on the slopes of Mount Asama, an active volcano. Karuizawa was mothballed in 2000 and the remaining stocks were thankfully ‘saved’ by Ichiro Akuto.
Karuizwa’s style was that of a certain Speyside whisky, they almost exclusively used Golden Promise barley imported from Scotland and primarily matured whisky in sherry casks imported from Spain. The key to Karuizawa’s success was the hidden earthiness and peatiness that gave many of their legendary single cask bottlings their unique character.
The water source used in production has flowed through the volcanic lava rock and soil that surround the distillery, giving it a unique mineral quality. This high quality led Karuizawa to be the first whisky exported out of Japan but ultimately led to their downfall, as both Japan and the world were not ready to accept such a high quality spirit which was not produced in Scotland. As a result, the distillery was not financially viable, which resulted in a great loss for whisky drinkers but produced an interesting rarity for whisky collectors.
Karuizawa is unique, there are so few releases in the last couple of years of this legendary malt.
Cask #4201 was matured for 30 years until bottling in 2015, limited to only 358 bottles.