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With only 350 bottles produced and the distillery now several years closed, the Karuizawa 1979 35-year-old might safely be called one of the rarest Japanese whiskies in existence. In the glass, it opens with an unapologetically alcoholic nose – no surprise given its substantial 58.8% ABV – but wait this out and be rewarded with wafts of gentle coffee and orchard fruit, fresh pine and rich soil. More delightful conflict awaits in the mouth, where wispy, spiced citrus wars with rich tobacco, old wood and a creeping hint of aniseed. A stunning example of Japanese elegance in whisky form.
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