Rare Karuizawa 1981 whisky released as ‘The Legend of Asama’

Rare Karuizawa 1981 whisky released as ‘The Legend of Asama’

Single malt from closed Japanese distillery Karuizawa’s last two casks is released in box sets

News | 15 Sep 2021

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First aged for 20 years at Karuizawa Distillery at the foot of active volcano Mount Asama, this whisky survived Karuizawa’s 2001 closure and the gradual auctioning-off of all but two of its casks. Whisky connoisseur Mahesh Patel, founder of Universal Whisky Experience, chose these two casks for transfer to Chichibu Distillery. The last few bottles have been held back until now.

30 ‘The Legend of Asama’ sets will be released over three years. A set contains a bottle of 35-year-old whisky each from cask 4059 (60.6% ABV) and cask 6183 (56.5% ABV). These bottles are billed as “incredibly rare”, as only a small amount of Karuizawa was released as a single malt during the distillery’s lifetime, and almost all of that was only ever released in Japan.

Also included are two handmade crystal decanters and two specially-designed Glencairn glasses, along with a Glencairn water-jug. All this is contained in hand-crafted lunawood cases and accompanied by a signed and numbered hardback book by whisky writer Charles Maclean MBE containing historical and tasting notes.

Scott Davidson, new product development director at Glencairn Crystal, says: “The inspiration for the packaging can be summed up as ‘Japanese simplicity’, understated, clean, and made only from natural materials.”

The distillery says that the volcanic-rock-filtered, mineral-rich snow melt from Mount Asama “aided fermentation and contributed to the clean, crisp flavour of the whisky.” The mountain also provided the inspiration for the lunawood designs, while medieval Japanese Noh theatre masks decorate the bottles.

Price on application. For details, visit www.legendofasama.com.
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