Rare Japanese Whisky – Karuizawa 39 year 1973/2013 Cask No 1607 67.7%

I still cannot believe we sampled this near mythical dram. While I was intrigued but not blown away by the ‘entry level’ Asama, a mature Karuizawa whisky is valued in the $15,000 range?!

That is… if you can find it…

Image from Scotch Whisky Auction

Image from Scotch Whisky Auction

This vintage cask no 1607 release from Karuizawa was bottled exclusively for La Maison du Whisky at a cask strength of 67.7%. It was distilled in December 1973 and bottled July 2013, making it 39 years old, with only 138 bottles taken from the ex-sherry cask. To call it ‘rare’ is a bit of an understatement!

Here is what we found:

  • Colour – Deep rich burgandy
  • Nose – Like a fine cognac, hint of orange zest, grape, sugary honey
  • Palate – Fire, orange, chocolate
  • Finish – Cigar pipe tobacco soaked in cognac

The sample came courtesy of India’s Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula and tasted together with the gorgeous quartet of grand dames – Glendronach 39 – 42 year whiskies.

My tasting notes simply do not do justice…. it is hard to put into words something that just wraps you up in so many layers of richness… It was a bit overwhelming to sample such mature, complex and yet still eminently enjoyable drams. Age doesn’t necessarily mean quality, but in this case it does!

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