Whisky Exchange bottles two new Karuizawa whiskies

Feb 17, 2020by Melita Kiely

Retailer The Whisky Exchange has added two new Karuizawa Japanese whiskies to its Geisha series, one aged for 31 years and the other for 36 years.

Bottled by Elixir Distillers, the Sapphire Geishas are the fifth release under the Geisha series. Both expressions will launch at 2pm GMT today (17 February) via an online ballot, which will run until 11.59pm GMT on 26 February. Only 146 bottles of Sapphire Geisha Karuizawa 31 Year Old Sherry Cask #3558 will be available to purchase, priced at £12,500 (US$16,305) per 700ml. The whisky has an ABV of 58.9%. Even fewer bottles of the Sapphire Geisha Karuizawa 36 Year Old Sherry Cask #5077 have been created. With an ABV of 61.2%, only 105 bottles will be up for grabs, priced at £15,000 (US$19,565) per 700ml. Sukhinder Singh, co-founder and owner of The Whisky Exchange, said: “With continued interest in Japanese whisky on a global scale, Karuizawa has been at the forefront of the phenomenal rise in value of rare Japanese whisky. “The fact that the distillery has not produced whisky for so many years makes it particularly valuable to collectors around the world, causing the price of these releases to increase as soon as they are made available. Karuizawa produced exquisite liquids, which we aim to bring to life with our series of Geisha bottlings.” Tasting notes for the 31-year-old include aromas of chocolate and leather, leading to dried fruits and a “deep, earthy savouriness” on the palate. The 36-year-old is said to have notes of dried cherries, raisins, leafy, damp wood and cedar on the nose. The palate is described as having flavours of chocolate covered liquorice, blackcurrants, tar, spice and brown sugar. Raj Chavda, Elixir Distillers’ creative director and Royal Society of Art member, designed the bottles for the Sapphire Geishas. He said: “As part of the Karuizawa Geisha’s journey, I was inspired by sapphire blue – a revered colour that is both synonymous with Japan’s oceans and said to be graced with divine power. “I combined this with dragon detailing in the background to create the impression of subtle but unmistakable strength, reflecting the wisdom and position she has acquired.” Last month, The Whisky Exchange opened its third London store in the London Bridge area of the city.