Fine & Rare: Karuizawa 50 Aqua of Life
History of Karuizawa
Karuizawa is a Japanese whisky distillery that has stopped production more than two decades ago. For those that don't follow the whisky market frequently, they may be stumped to find whiskies from Karuizawa costing tens of thousands dollars.
Although Japanese whiskies have been trending upwards in price in the last few years, none can match the phenomenal rise of Karuizawa.
The distillery started in 1956 to produce single malt for Daikoku Budoshu's (a large wine and spirits producer) blended whiskies. Fast forward to ups and downs in the market, Karuizawa closed in 2001 despite being one of the most popular brands in a not-so-buoyant whisky market back then in Japan.
The distillery was later scrapped and razed to the ground in 2016, putting an end to any hopes of a revival. This set in the reality that the bottles of Karuizawa left in the market is finite,
What made Karuizawa popular (again)?
Karuizawa rose to international popularity in 2007 when independent bottler Number One Drinks started bottling single casks of whisky from the distillery and importing them to Europe.
The flavors were extremely well received and orders started rolling in.
With production stopped since 2001 and the ongoing increase in demand for Japanese whiskies and especially Karuizawa, the depletion of supply continues to ramp up the price.
These days, bottles of Karuizawa change hands at auctions for thousands of dollars at least with some going into past the hundred thousand mark!
The Karuizawa 50
The Karuizawa 50 Aqua of Life is a set of two bottles, one black and one white. Both bottles are displayed in a beautiful wooden display case reminiscent of a Japanese torii gate's design
The White has 347 bottles in total and the Black has 248. Both are aged for 50 years with the White being bottled in 2019 and the Black in 2018. White has an ABV of 59.2% whilst the Black stands at 57.9%.
Both are single cask and bottled at cask strength, with the White being taken from cask number #538 and the Black being from cask number #6223.
Collectors looking to get the set should be prepared to shell out over S$100,000, a whisky well deserved to be called fine & rare!