Until 1955, when they entered the Japanese whisky industry, Karuizawa was a vineyard. The distillery is very old-fashioned, sticking to Scottish traditions and focusing on small-scale production. Karuizawa uses 100% Golden Promise barley, wooden washbacks, small stills and sherry casks sourced from Spain.
The distillery composed an epic whisky last year when releasing the oldest Japanese whisky ever, the Karuizawa 1971. Now there is a slightly younger follow-up, the 36 years old 1972.
Karuizawa 36yo 1972
(65%, OB 2008, cask #7290, Japanese wine cask, 528 btl.)
Nose: the alcohol really hits you, but it’s still very expressive. Big sherry (well, Japanese wine) influence. Wonderful tobacco notes, like a recently opened cigar box. Plums. Kirsch. Spicy chocolate (cinnamon) and orange marmalade. Some leather. A light hint of smoke. Very complex, very good.
Mouth: wow, very powerful and hot. Water needed here (and I don’t say that very often). Very intense, with a peppery attack. Fruity notes (lemon and tangerine) with a strong woody dimension. Raisins. Hints of smoke.
Finish: very long finish on oak and spices. Warm and drying.
Again a true classic. Not cheap but simply excellent. Expect to pay around € 185.