Monday, January 21, 2013

Karuizawa 42yo 1969 & 1970

Review by Ruben of WhiskyNotes

Karuizawa 42yo 1970 (64,3%, Number One Drinks 2012, sherry butt #6177, 326 btl.)

Nose: huge, clean sherry nose with dried fruits (dates, figs), fresh fruits (raspberries, plums, quinces, citrus) and a slightly curious (but quite enjoyable) smell of overdue bananas. Quite fragrant, with eucalyptus oil, polished cedar wood and hints of old roses. Cocoa powder. Turpentine. And a whole array of soft spices (cinnamon, ginger, cumin). Very rich. Mouth: whoa, hot. Full of raisins, plums, brambles, raspberries and oranges. A thick, jammy yet sparkling fruitiness. A peppery kick too (peppercorn and wasabi). Drying black thee and some woody tannins in the end. Finish: long, with a nutty dryness and spicy notes (pepper, clove, mint). Still some raisins.
This Karuizawa 1970 is showing the same kind of oakiness that’s present in most other 40+ whiskies, but the sherry brings enough fruits to make it a highly enjoyable experience. I prefer this one over the Karuizawa 1969 but at this price level shopping advice is probably less relevant anyway… Around € 600.

Karuizawa 42yo 1969 (61,3%, Number One Drinks 2012, bourbon cask #8183)

Nose: very bold bourbon oak influence. Different sorts of warm wood, sandalwood, cedar from cigar boxes, some thuja… In fact I like this kind of oakiness, it’s elegant and matches the oriental character. There’s also varnish and solventy notes. Leather. Underneath it has apricot jam, yellow plums and vanilla-coated berry cake. Touches of mint, with floral overtones. Mouth: this is where the wood starts to show more astrigency. Fruits are now heavily infused fruit tea. Slightly tangy ginger and clove as well. A little coconut oil. Unfortunately also a planky note which coats your mouth and a little tobacco sourness. Orange peel. Spruce needles. Again some flowery touches. Finish: long, quite floral and heady. Mint and traces of the apricot jam.

Of course the bourbon cask makes it difficult to compare, but I’d still say this is much closer to the Karuizawa 1968 than to the legendary Karuizawa 1967. The nose is fabulous but on the palate I'm having some trouble with the abundance and dryness of the oak. Around € 750.

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