15 Oct 2012
Karuizawa 1982 (cask #8497)
Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: * Japan
I’m proud to be a Nonjatta contributor now. I’ll regularly provide tasting notes of Japanese whiskies for their website.
Among the highlights of the recent 2012 Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in London were two single casks of Karuizawa. One was a 1984 sherry cask #4021, the other one this 1982 bourbon cask #8497. Yes, bourbon, if I’m not mistaken this is the first bourbon cask release I’m trying from this distillery. It is a TWE exclusive with a nice new koi label.
(46%, first fill bourbon cask #8497)
Nose: a totally different beast than any other Karuizawa. This is a beautiful bourbon-style, with a lot of sweetness: peach jam, tinned pineapples, lemonade… Some honey and fruit candy. Hints of vanilla cake, a few floral notes too. It’s fairly oak-driven, with some plain oak shavings and ethereal notes, but that’s alright, it’s intense, elegant and playful at the same time. Mouth: funny how it was so punchy on the nose and on the palate I immediately expected more oomph. Only after a few seconds does it release its flavours. Fairly oaky again, with a slight tangy edge now. Sweet malty notes, a little vanilla sweetness again. Leather and wax. Ginger. Not a match for the nose though, it’s much more narrow and possibly too watered down – was the oakiness over the top at cask strength? Finish: long, with the oak spices and malt lingering on, and a new sparkle of fruitiness in the end.
An excellent experience to try a bourbon version of a dram that’s almost synonymous for heavy sherry maturation. Great nose, maybe not a complete success on the palate. Around € 225. Not sure whether it has completely sold out at the show or some remaining stock has yet to arrive on the TWE website. Update: now available.