New Arrival: Karuizawa 1981 Cask #6056

This is my last purchase of 2013 and what a way to end a thoroughly enjoyable whisky jaunt. If there is one name that seems to cause a chain reaction in whisky enthusiasts and set those alarm bells ringing, then it is Karuizawa. Meltdown can ensue from previous bottlings from this famous and now sadly closed Japanese distillery.

I do have another Karuizawa in my collection but that is a bourbon cask. The distillery is more known for it’s wonderful sherry releases so to acquire one of these was always on my ‘to do’ list, but bottlings have seen a rapid increase at auction this year. However experiences shows you will never know when a new bottle is announced even though stocks are dwindling there is some life in the distillery yet.

A post on the Whisky Exchange Blog revealed that a very special bottle of Karuizawa was going up for sale in 2 batches; first come, first served. Needless to say even at £350 this one flew off the shelves selling out in a matter of minutes on both days. Fortunately I managed to grab one of these thanks (most likely) to my fast typing skills.

The colour of the whisky is remarkable and reminiscent of the Cadenhead’s Highland Park 25 year old sherry release, which happens to be my favourite whisky of 2013. Details are thin on the ground about this Karuizawa apart from it being proclaimed as one of the best they’ve bottled – until the next one? We don’t even know how many bottles the cask yielded either, so the details are below for what it’s worth and already as I type this 2 bottles have appeared straight away at the latest SWA listing. Flipping bottles is a trend I’d like to see die out in 2014 but we know it’s going to be around for while yet.

If there was one criticism it would be the labelling as I really do love some of the previous bottles from this distillery. This one in comparison is a little more muted but if the contents pack the punch that they are supposed to, then I can forgive the tame exterior.

Distillery: Karuizawa

Distilled: 1981
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 60.3%
Cask: Sherry
Edition: not stated but a single cask release
Price: £350 (now all sold out)

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