Karuizawa 1984, #3663, 56.8% – Speciality Drinks Ltd.

As most people who friended me on Facebook will probably have realized I got ‘my’ bottle of Karuizawa 1984 in yesterday. I say ‘my’ in a reserved way, since I am the one who got it, but it actually is seven people who bought it. 10cl each.

Not very strange if you realize that, with shipping included, this thing costs around € 400. It’s the most expensive bottle I ever bought, but with all the rising prices not the most expensive one in my collection (but the difference isn’t that big).

I’m not going to go into the process of obtaining this bottle with the allocation scheme, since I just put in an article to our club magazine about that. Maybe later.

Anyway, Karuizawa is one of my favourite distilleries, as are many. Unfortunately, in the last four years or so the prices have soared. When I got a couple of bottles around 2008 to 2010 they used to cost around € 125 for a 30 year old one. Now, you can’t get a 15 year old one for that money. The 30 year olds come in like this one, at more than three times that amount.

Karuizawa 1984

Karuizawa 1984

A lot of bitter oak at first. Incredibly woody, like almost all popular Japanese whisky there’s a lot of focus on oak. I think I get a faint whiff of smoke too, but I’m not sure. The sherry influence is clear too, slight tart and astringent. I’m thinking rancio too. There’s a hint of mint or menthol to keep a bit of a fresh note too. Old casks, dunnage warehouses, hard dirt floors. Stunning.

It’s not too sharp. Unlike many other Japanese whiskies around this age, this doesn’t come in kicking around 60% or more. It’s a more normal ABV, which is clear right off the bat. The nose was a bit sweeter, but the bitterness is here too. Oak, fruit and fruit stones like peach, apricots, dates stones.

The finish is long but not infinite. It mellows quickly with more fruit than before. Peach, nectarine, blood orange. The woodiness is toned down a bit here but there is some tobacco that I didn’t notice before.

This is an extremely good whisky. It’s one of my favourite Karuizawas instantly. I’m not really counting the 1964 one since that is not comparable to anything I’ve ever tried. The depth is incredible and it has a lot of flavours to offer.

I’m really glad I went for this, even though it’s way above my budget. I’ll probably have to put in a couple of quiet months and drink more from what I already have bought over the years and finish some bottles.

After drinking it, an hour later or so and also the next morning, the glass smells very ashy. So my guess is there’s a bit of smoke going on after all. Surprising.

Karuizawa 1984, cask #3663, First Fill Sherry Cask, OB bottled for Speciality Drinks Ltd. It’s for sale at The Rare Malt for € 768

Thanks to Ansgar, David, Gal, Franck, Ben and Steve for participating and making this possible!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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3 Responses to Karuizawa 1984, #3663, 56.8% – Speciality Drinks Ltd.

  1. Ah… sounds intriguing. looking fwd to my 10cl 🙂

  2. Pingback: 4 Rosebanks in a row | Malt Fascination

  3. Pingback: My favorite whiskies of 2014 | Malt Fascination

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