We’ve just received this press release from the Number One Drinks Company. This is literally the biggest thing to happen to Japanese whisky in decades!
The entire remaining inventory of Mercian’s Karuizawa Distillery has been acquired on behalf of Number One Drinks by an Asian-based company. International importer and distributor of Japanese malt whisky, Number One Drinks Company, has handled worldwide sales of Karuizawa single casks since 2006 and has helped raise the profile of Japanese single malts internationally, especially with the help of distributors in the key markets of Taiwan, France, UK and Sweden.
Of the 12 Gold Medals awarded by the Malt Maniacs in 2010, four were for whiskies sourced by Number One Drinks (including three Karuizawas) and the Best Japanese Whisky in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011 was a 1967 single cask from Karuizawa. More…
I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever seen a delivery driver so amused.
Literally the second the new bottling of the Noh Karuizawa Whisky walked through the door, the office broke out into a frenzy – photographers snapping, directors grabbing tasting glasses and falling upon the beautiful decanters like they contained the elixir of eternal life.
Such is the sense of anticipation and wonderment that surround all Japanese whiskies bottled by the Number one drinks company. This particular release is a 32yo Karuizawa from 1977 (Karuizawas before 1981 are revered as somewhat special because of their intense Umami-rich flavour), and it’s spectacular. It’s by no means a gentle giant at 32 years of age – we’d describe it more like being kicked in the face by an angry bosozoku than the peaceful tranquillity brought by Hanami (ed – d’you like that? Bit of Kulcha and that)…
Anywhoo, enough rambling, here are our tasting notes:
Nose: This dram opens with an olfactory delight of walnuts, chestnuts roasting in New York, pineapple and maple syrup. As it sits in the glass the nose develops stewed fruits in mulled wine, a slight note of autumnal bonfire and orange peel element and finishes on glacé cherries
Judging the Book by Its Cover
You might remember, a couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about Highland Park Earl Magnus. As we watched it fly off our shelves we got talking about packaging, and how important it is for luxury commodities – especially whisky. (NB we’re by no means saying we think it was all style and no substance – the whisky was great, scrumptious even!)
Anyhoo, there’s been a recent spate of success stories, from imperialistic decanters to cartoons and artistic fonts. Now everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon, but there were those who did it first, and did it well.
One of the innovators was Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Easy Drinking Whisky Company. The trio were friends and scotch whisky connoisseurs – brothers Jon and Mark Geary, and David Robertson of Macallan fame – and their whisky was a far cry from some of the passé and overly conservative malts around at the time. To make doubly sure everyone knew this, the whiskies were given downright modish names; The Smooth Sweeter One and The Rich Spicy One, bedecked with caricatures of swarming beehives and Middle Eastern marketplaces of Hessian sacks filled with loose spices. More…
It’s a bit like Christmas at MoM towers today, albeit with fewer board-games and no crap jokes (well, maybe just a few). A very exciting package has turned up from the smashing folks at the ‘Number one drinks company’. It’s their newest selection of cask bottlings, and some sneak previews of the very exciting new malts from Chichibu.
All of these bottlings are currently on a cargo ship from Japan, and should be available in the next two months, keep watching – we’ll get them up as soon as they’re in.
So – enough with the pre-amble and onto the malts. First up, we’ve got 3 single cask bottlings from (the now closed) Hanyu and the sublime Karuizawa distilleries: