Karuizawa 1981/2011 ‘Geisha Label’
It is safe to say that Karuizawa is almost unreachable for the regular whisky enthusiast. I say almost, because if you really want to, there’s is always a way. Buying full bottles may have become way too expensive, but that’s why God invented whisky samples 🙂
Late last year I realized that if I ever wanted to taste some Karuizawa, I needed to act quickly. Prices of certain bottles had quadrupled in less than a year. So I posted a message on the forum of the Usquebaugh Society, the largest whisky society in The Netherlands. And lo and behold, there were actually some members who were willing to share a sample, for close to original retail price or way below current value.
Today’s review is of a sample from Ewald (thank you so much!), and I’ve two others neatly stashed away in my sample supply for a future tasting. After that, I’ll probably never taste one again. But that’s okay. Too much of a good thing, or something…
Karuizawa 1981/2011 (57,5%, OB ‘Geisha Label’, C#6256)
Nose: A great savory nose, with a tiny speck of peat and hints of sweetness. Varnish, but in the loveliest way possible, with milk chocolate and cocoa. Then some soy sauce, followed by an almost coastal aroma. Salted peanuts also. Maybe not the most complex, but very rich and well-balanced.
Taste: A subtle hint of peat (more present than in the nose), some brine. Then old, dirty sherry. Leather, burlap and wood polish. Pretty spicy with a fair amount of pepper.
Finish: Peat smoke, but very soft. Spicy, fresh oak and a hint of caramel. Nice and long.
My first Karuizawa, and it did not disappoint. I could get used to this!
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.