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February 10 2014

Oldest Karuizawa Single Cask Whisky Bottled

Last year (yes, I have been very slack in updating this blog recently!), the amazing people at
Master of Malt sent me what has to be the most incredible free samples ever (and I haven’t even opened and drunk it yet!).

A sample of the Karuizawa 1964 Vintage Single Case #3603!

Karuizawa 1964

This is from one of the very few Karuizawa casks left from the 1960s and one of the oldest Japanese single malt whiskies in history!
Here’s their press release from last year:

Cask #3603 from Karuizawa, filled on 1st September 1964 and bottled on Christmas Eve 2012, is one of the oldest Japanese single malt whiskies in history.

At the time of bottling it was the oldest expression of the now-closed Karuizawa. Only 143 individually-numbered bottles will be available.

Number One Drinks Company acquired the last casks of Karuizawa in August 2011 and this is one of the legendary distillery’s most ancient casks. Matured for over 48 years in a 400 litre sherry oak cask, the whisky lay undisturbed in a traditional dunnage warehouse at Karuizawa before being transferred to Chichibu where it was bottled at cask strength (57.7% abv).

It is naturally coloured and non-chill filtered to retain maximum flavour, mouth feel and integrity. Cask #3603 is one of the very few Karuizawa casks left from the 1960s.

Karuizawa matures magnificently over an extended period, as shown by this bottling.

“Absolutely top drawer whisky and a treat from start to finish. 94/100,”

observed prolific whisky author Dominic Roskrow.

“First, it’s brilliant whisky, and second, it’s ‘different’ whisky. Respect. 95/100,”

added Serge Valentin, a whisky expert and Malt Maniac, who recently named Karuizawa as one of only six Grand Cru Classé single malts in his personal ranking.

“It’s fairly common to compliment mature whiskies on how young and vibrant they are despite their old age. This 1964 Karuizawa is far beyond such platitudes. Only time and a large dose of luck could have conspired to make this; a rare whisky that creates a world of its own and holds it together so beautifully, like an image of nature at its best,”

commented Stefan van Eycken, blogger and editor of Nonjatta, the leading Japanese whisky website.

Karuizawa Whiskey

As befits this extraordinary whisky, the presentation is exceptional. A bespoke, heavyweight version of the traditional Karuizawa bottle is housed in a dark wooden box with a front made of Polish black fossil oak.

“The fossil oak is symbolic: the last part of the name ‘Karuizawa’ means swamp.
This oak is hundreds of years old and has been recovered from ancient Polish swamps,”

said Marcin Miller, Managing Director of Number One Drinks Company.

Each bottle is presented with a specially commissioned book by Dave Broom, the leading authority on Japanese whisky, who states:

“Karuizawa is Japanese whisky unlike any other. It is big, it is bold, it has solidity and weight, it is richly fruited, it revels in its oiliness, it has smoke, but has retained the very Japanese qualities
of heightened aroma and precision of flavour.”

This limited edition of Karuizawa whisky was bottled exclusively for clients of Wealth Solutions.

As they said above, the bottle comes in a gorgeous dark wooden oak box, accompanied by a book detailing the history of the Karuizawa Distillery with some beautiful photographs.

Kuruizawa 1964

The whiskey retails at a staggering £9995.95! And some (maybe just one?) bottles are still available on the Master of Malt website here.

I haven’t yet tried the sample as, well whisky is made for drinking and not hoarding but I feel I need an extra special occasion to crack this one open!

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