Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mercian Karuizawa Master's Blend

Maker: Mercian - Release: 1994 (first edition) - ABV: 40% - Age: no age statement (back label states malt and grain used over 10-years)

Nose: apricots, tinned pears, moderate citrus - effervescent light lemon and red licorice with non dominating grain and light faint spirit. Very suggestive of  dried, grated coconut and kiwi fruit but it is not constant - comes and goes in waves throwing in unripened strawberries. Can be very interesting given the right elements, other times it can come across as being standard. Water adds mint but not in its pure form: canned mojittos.

Taste: Reasonably sweet, tarty, and smooth with Allens sugared spearmint leaves lollies. Suggestive licorice tip toes in the background with unripened hard strawberries. Water brings out a bit of salt and pepper, burnt toast with syrup, and bitterness (coffee beans). The grain comes into play quite a bit from here on but it is not a kick in the face - very tame.

Finish: Prolonged spearmint leaves lollies or is it Extra spearmint chewing gum?

Comment: Rewarding on both the nose and palate most of the time. Quite fruity really - could be a good blend to stick your nose in during summer perhaps. Palate: not extremely lush but nor is really bland. Perhaps lets see how this develops over time - could get better or worse. One thing for certain is I'm glad to have reasonable action not just on the nose.

Reviewed by Clint A 


  1. There seem to be a lot of mint, licorice and spearmint flavours in this one. Is this not a bit unusual for a Karuizawa? I am curious to hear whether you'll experience any change in these flavours over time.

  2. Yes, Pierre. A bit unusual indeed but not rare in my opinion. Well, I've experienced menthol in some Karuizawa's - but I guess not to the extent of the mint I experienced here. For me, what was also a bit unusual was the kiwi fruit. I reckon the above notes will change as the bottle gets more exposed to oxidization, like many Japanese whiskies. As mentioned it could get better or worse, I have a feeling this one may get better.