Update 16.5.2010. Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:
Karuizawa single malt. 17-year-old. 40 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Struck match, sulphury notes. In this case, this is not a bad thing. Sherry, marmalade on toast. A hint of glue.
Palate: Sherry, oak, a little nutty, smoke.
Finish: Sherry, smokey, peppery, dry.
General comment: This is an odd malt that's lacks complexity and cohesion. It's not bad. In some ways, it's interesting. It's just not special.
This is the older of the two standard range Karuizawas. There seem to have been expressions of this that are very different in character. Some reviews have talked of a fruity, warming tipple. I found nothing like that here although the nose (honey and lemon) seemed to be gesturing in that direction. The taste was dominated by dry, tight saltiness. There were very restrained and distant notes of tobacco, smoke and liquorice near the finish, but it was very much a one chord whisky. I didn't dislike it. In a certain context, it might work very well. With a cigar, perhaps?
Reviews by others
There are at least three different Whisky Magazine reviews of a Karuizawa 17: Issue 26, Issue 56 and Issue 64. Only that last one seems to bear any resemblance to my impressions.
Abv 40 per cent
Price (July 2008)
700 ml - 8,790 to 10,494 yen
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Heartfelt thanks go to Takeshi Mogi for sharing this whisky with me.