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Located in Nagano Prefecture, the Karuizawa Distillery was founded in 1956. It was never a large-scale operations, with an annual capacity of 150 thousand litres of pure alcohol it was on par with the Scottish Edradour and Kilchoman in that respect. Closed down in 2011, it gained a cult status only afterwards, mainly thanks to the UK-based Number One Drinks Company, which gradually bought up all the stocks and then proceeded to promote the Karuizawa whiskies. Because of the small scale of the production, most expressions of their whiskies are limited batches, mostly a few hundred bottles each.
Karuizawa 1989, a 23-year-old whisky bottled in 2013 is a single cask expression, a whisky that comes from only one cask, namely a sherry butt. Edition limited to 302 bottles, launched by Number One Drinks Company. The whisky was not chill-filtered, diluted or coloured, which means it reached the bottle in exactly the same state as it left the cask.
Nose: Notes of cacao, chocolate, leather, herbs. Medical-apothecary overtones, distinct sherry influences.
Taste: Dry, with most pronounced sherry influence. Chocolate, black tea, paprika, spices, dried fruits, Christmas cake.
Finish: Medium length, with all the flavours gradually dying out.