The distillery was established in 1955 by Daikoku-budoshu. The owner decided to build the facility in the town of Karuizawa located in the foothills of the active Asama volcano, a popular tourist destination in Japan.
Karuizawa was a small distillery producing alcoholic beverages with the use of traditional methods. In pursuit of the highest quality, Karuizawa was contained in casks previously filled with sherry and imported from Spain. Similar to its equivalent from the home of whisky, Scotland, Karuizawa is aged in sherry casks. However, the flavour of whisky is also influenced by local features that give it its unique character. Spring water drawn from the volcanic hills of Asama, freezing winters and hot summers are all hinted at in the flavour of this beverage and make it truly one of a kind. Karuizawa is very rich and aromatic with a distinct sherry profile.
Karuizawa used to produce whisky on a small-scale and was rather focused on the domestic market. This continued from its establishment in 1955 until 2000 when the production was ceased. Although whisky is no longer produced, there were still some casks left, but every year the number decreases. Currently, there are only 300 Karuizawa casks in the world. Three-quarters of these date back to the 1990s, and there are only 14 casks left from the 1960s.
Unfortunately for Karuizawa, it gained world recognition only after it ceased production. Since 2006, Karuizawa whisky has been reaching whisky lovers from all around the world thanks to the Number One Drinks company. When the world heard about Karuizawa, it immediately fell in love with the beverage produced in the foothills of the Asama mountain. Karuizawa won 12 golden medals from Number One Drinks, awarded by the Malt Maniacs group (the most important global organisation of whisky critics and connoisseurs.)
As Karuizawa is no longer licensed to produce alcoholic beverages and the building of the distillery has a new owner, there will be no new casks on the market. No one knows when the last whisky will be bottled.