Karuizawa Noh, 1980-2013, 59.2%, cask #3565

Like yesterday’s Mars Shinshu whisky I got this in a trade of some samples I did with a fellow Usquebaugh Society member last Sunday when we were at the Zuidam distillery to select our next club bottling. More on that later, but now this Karuizawa.

I’m trying to go through samples that come in quickly, since the stash upstairs of unopened samples that have been sitting there for over a year is huge. I don’t think samples get any better over time since they’re lids are usually not as good as complete bottles.

Also, when I get trade samples (the rare occasion that such a thing happens), like the 60 year old from Master of Malt, their purpose is also to get some traction for their release so them sending me samples is also done to get publicity. That’s not going to help a year after it sells out, so I try to do those quickly.

However, with me doing some abstinence every couple of weeks (for a couple of days) doesn’t really help. So, if your sample has not been reviewed yet, it’s coming. At some point.

Why this rambling? Because I don’t have anything useful to say about Karuizawa that hasn’t been said before. Everybody knows I love the whisky. Everybody also knows that it’s usually pretty far outside my comfort zone and budget.

Karuizawa Noh 1980. Image from Whiskybase

Karuizawa Noh 1980. Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
Massive sherry, but not in a gentle fruity way. There’s rancio, wine stone, slightly salty sherry. Also dried fruits. Very intense. After a short while I get coal, diesel and wood smoke. It’s not as sharp as some old Karuizawas and I like that. Some light spiciness with basil and menthol.

Sip:
On the palate it’s sharper than I expected. Dry and biting with a dried fruit intensity. Lots of oak and quite some sherry again. In a wine like way this time. Chocolate, alcohol, diesel. Even some nutmeg and tree bark. The wet, green kind.

Swallow:
The finish is also typical of Karuizawa in its flavours. I get Japanese plum wine, smooth and sherry like. Slightly salty again and some red fruits. I think strawberries and balsamic vinegar.

Contrary to yesteday’s Mars Shinshu (I keep typing Mars Volta…) here the palate and finish aren’t inconsistent. They just keep adding things to what was already there. I love that. There’s a lot to discover here and it won’t bore quickly!

Unfortunately, the price is at about £ 1000 / € 1200 now, according to Whiskybase, so this is a one time occurrence for me. Luckily, I saved a bit.

Oh, and on the whisky again. I really love the fruit backed up by the diesel and coal flavours. It sounds weird, but it’s gorgeous!

Karuizawa Noh, 1980-2013, 59.2%, cask #3565. Even in auctions it’s going over € 1200…

Thanks to Bart P. for the sample!

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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