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Karuizawa 30 Year Old Samurai Cask #4201

Karuizawa 30 Year Old Samurai Cask #4201
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Karuizawa 30 Year Old Samurai Cask #4201Karuizawa 30 Year Old Samurai Cask #4201Karuizawa 30 Year Old Samurai Cask #4201

Bottle performance

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Lot number: 122-03926

Winning bid: £6,500

The mountain town of Karuizawa is situated on a high plain at the base of active volcano, Mount Asama, in the heart of Japan’s mainland. In 1956, the wine and spirits giant, Daikoku Budoshu, expanded their already established empire there by building a distillery with the onus of producing a single malt to be utilised in the company’s blends. They christened it ‘Ocean’. 1958 saw a freer importation channel opening up for malt, and barley flowed into Japan from the UK. Karuizawa Factory, as it was then known, worked with Golden Promise barley (also famously used by Macallan), and matured their signature spirit in sherry casks, yet very little actually left the country, which in future would lend hugely to its collectability.

During the 1980s and 90s Japan's economy was truly booming, but with this prosperity came a generation of young, trendy and affluent consumers who began to turn their backs on companies they deemed “old fashioned”. Instead, their attentions turned to wines, with only low grade, neutral tasting whiskies managing to find any favour as mixing fodder. The relatively small Karuizawa distillery, with its robust and characterful style, never stood a chance, and in the year 2000 it was sadly mothballed (and completely demolished in 2016).

Jumping ahead to 2007, independent bottler Number One Drinks acquired the distillery's remaining stocks, and imported Ocean Karuizawa Distillery whisky (as it was re-branded to in 1977) for the European market. The rarity of official expressions, and the now finite supply made for an explosive combination in the world of rare whisky, with die-hard collectors clamouring to get hold of any releases, and driving a buoyant second hand market. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ten casks were bottled in 2014 and 2015, each with a different Samurai depicted on the label.

Bottled: 2015

Age: 30 years

Cask Type: Sherry Butt

Cask Number: 4201

57.4% ABV / 70cl

Bottle Number: One of only 358 bottles released

Please note some wax seals are prone to cracking in varying temperatures and transport conditions, therefore - as stated in our terms and conditions - we do not accept liability should these seals be found to show signs of splitting on delivery.

Please examine all images of the lot, any packaging and labels carefully and satisfy yourself as to their condition before making a bid.