In the last few years Japanese whisky gained recognition in the western hemisphere and demand is steadily rising. Another trend is the rising prices of whiskies from closed distilleries, fueled by collectors and investors. Now combine both trends and you get the “Karuizawa craze”.
Have you followed what’s happening with new (and old) Karuizawa bottlings? The barrels stock is rapidly dwindling and each new bottling is sought after by thousands of people. According to TWE, there were 6000 registrations to their recent lottery on the new Karuizawa/Hanyu bottles.
Karuizawa prices are on a steep rise. new bottlings are priced at 450 quid and higher and auction prices are in the stratosphere level. Only a year ago, although it does feels like forever in current market condition, there were six new Karuizawa bottlings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. They seemed to be expensive and overpriced but in hindsight, it was el-cheapo comparing to what’s going on today.
I’ve already reviewed 132.2 here, so lets review the rest of the even numbers in that series – 132.4 and 132.6.
SMWS 132.4 Rich, brooding and suggestive 17 year old (61.7%, 346 bottles)
Nose: Intense (high ABV or not?), sweet and rich nose. Sherried with lots of forest berries glazed in dark sweet caramel. Nutmeg and cinnamon, wood polish, sulphur.
Palate: Spicy and malty. Then some sweet sherry with berries and nutmeg, mouth coating with heaven. Fresh and intense.
Finish: Long finish. Sweet nutmeg and berries and lingering spice, Yummy!
SMWS 132.6 Nite Nurse nipped by piranhas 12 year old (63%, 553 bottles)
Nose: Here the nose is more exotic as there are lots of oriental spices. The sherry impact is weaker (due to the shorter maturating) with raisins, sour berries, rice vinegar, nutmeg.
Palate: Oak wood, spicy and exotic, sweet with nutmeg and cinnamon, berries. Kinda fizzy.
Finish: Medium length with lingering sweetness and oak wood spices.
Thoughts: the 132.4 is the winner hands down. Such a delicious Karuizawa. Mind you, it’s not that the 132.6 is bad – it’s a tad less better and both were excellent purchase if you managed to get them when they were released. Now with the Karuizawa craze, be prepared to shell a lot of $$/€€/££ to get a bottle. Good job by the SMWS with those casks.