Single malt whisky - tasting notes

16 Apr 2010

Karuizawa 1985 (cask #7017)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: * Japan

Did you know the current Emperor of Japan met his wife on a trip to the city of Karuizawa (軽井沢)? It’s a popular summer day-trip for people living in Tokyo who want to cool off in the mountains.

This 24 (or 23?) years old Karuizawa 1985 was bottled last year but in this part of the world it only showed up a few weeks ago. I ordered it right away from LMdW, where it sold out very quickly. 

 

Karuizawa 1985 #7017 Karuizawa 1985
(60,8%, OB 2009, cask #7017)

Nose: typical Japanese sherry influence. Bold and earthy with lots of gunpowder and fireworks. I’ve read ‘sulphur’ on different websites, but this is nothing like the dirty kind of sulphur that we sometimes discover in sherry casks. Really nice. Mushrooms (truffles?). After a while, more fruity notes come out (mainly blackberry and black cherries) with velvety vanilla, leather and tobacco. Hints of fresh tarmac. Extreme and archetypal. Mouth: very intense and thick. Smoky and earthy with hints of tobacco. Dark fruits. Savoury when water is added (meat, mushrooms) with herbs (mint, cardamom) but also more hints of fireworks. Finish: long, drying (slightly tannic) and leafy.

Huge is the right descriptor here. Big gunpowder notes throughout, but real fun to gradually add water and watch the flavours develop. Perfect example of the Karuizawa style. Around € 115.

Score: 89/100

Karuizawa 1985 (cask #7017) 4 Ruben Luyten 2010-04-16
  • Michael

    I was unfortunately late to get it. I was waiting for your tasting too long :-) I am just starting to build my collection of Karuizawa whisky.
    Thank you for the review.

  • http://guidscotchdrink.com Jason JY

    These are some delicious notes. I was reading along, my mouth watering, imaging how great this must taste. The ’89’ surprised me, though, after reading such positive notes. Why that score rather than, say, a ’91,’ ’92,’ or ’93’?

    Cheers,
    Jason @ Guid Scotch Drink

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    Because the higher the score, the more I expect development, subtlety, variation, which this Karuizawa does not have as much as other versions. It has a slightly exaggerated profile. Think of it as a car prototype: it’s unique, it presents some bold ideas, but it’s not perfectly suitable to use.

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  • Tony: Well the 1401 batch 8 could be found easily in most places for £200 - indeed I got one for £180 with a discount. The £225 price was a bit high and
  • WhiskyNotes: Don't just look at the UK - it's not always representative for the rest of the world. The last 1401 for Europe was batch 8. I bought that one for €
  • Sam: Nicely written notes, not rated this myself yet. Just to confirm, it's nowhere near a 40% price rise though. The last 1401 released in the UK was at

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1659 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.