Single malt whisky - tasting notes

01 Oct 2010

Karuizawa 1990 Whisky Live

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Japan

For the latest edition of Whisky Live in Japan, four casks of Japanese whisky were selected as festival bottlings. This 19 years old Karuizawa (cask #6446) was one of them. After the festival, it showed up in different shops.

Karuizawa 1990Karuizawa 19 yo 1990 (60%, OB for Whisky Live 10th Anniversary 2009,  sherry butt #6446)

Nose: starts quite fresh and aromatic but also more winey than older vintages. A few bourbonny notes with vanilla and almonds. Orange liqueur. Mint and cinnamon. Water brings out apples with cinnamon and oak shavings, plus a few flowery notes (geranium). Very good – much less extreme than most older, legendary Karuizawa. Mouth: powerful attack. Fruity (oranges, white cherries). Big gingery notes and a little pepper. More malty notes than older Karuizawa. With water: more spices, more oak but overall a bit thinner, a lot of the fruity flavours seem to be drowned. Finish: long, slightly oaky. Still based around the spices.

This Karuizawa has less explosive sherry influence than we’re used to – its style reminds me of the Karuizawa 1988 cask #3397. It’s firm and enjoyable, but less complex. For me one of the lesser bottles from this distillery but that’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s still very good.

Score: 85/100

Karuizawa 1990 Whisky Live 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2010-10-01
  • gal

    have yet to try a single Kur.

    i know i need to.

    can you point me to what is available and not very expensive?

  • Ruben

    Master of Malt has samples available of a Noh Karuizawa 1977 – that’s a perfect introduction. Noh is the name of the UK import by No.1 Drinks.

  • Michael

    Thank you Ruben. You are a Karuizawa “go to” Web site, for me 😉

  • Johan

    Ruben, I don’t think ‘Noh’ is the name for the UK Import bij NO1 drinks. NO1 drinks has also other UK imports of Karuizawa. Noh refers to the classical Japanese musical drama and is a serie of Karuizawa’s with the picture of masks or personages from such Japanese musical dramas on the labels.
    Johan, a Karuizawa fan!

  • Ruben

    Put more correctly: Noh is the name of a series by No.1 Drinks. Indeed they have other bottlings as well.

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October 2015
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1888 notes by Ruben

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