Friday, July 5, 2013

Karuizawa Vintage 30yo Cask No. 7924

Distilled: 1981 - Bottled: 2011 - ABV: 56.6%

Nose: Packs a massive punch full of new car radiator fan belts soaked in balsamic vinegar. There’s Soursob (used to chew on these as a kid in Australia), bike tyres/tubes, in fact an assortment of rubber items - but I think you get the picture. With time, and once past the latex/polymeric substances it does open up and show differences: kirsch syrup, port-like raisins and dark cherry bonbons. These are pleasant - if/when you can find them past the dominant sourness and rubber. Water adds burnt red wine sauce and tames the rubber a bit.

Taste: Borderline strange, if you are looking for something with “unusual characteristics” than this is for you. Smack-bang on Soursob, balsamic vinegar, and rubber wood. Extremely dry malt with bitter tannins and chalk. Dilution adds elements of mint licorice and spicy rubbery cherry.

Finish: Dry, long and chalky with Soursob. Water cuts the chalkiness and turns down the dryness a notch, adds a bit of bitterness and that’s about it.

Comment: In my opinion this is malt you either love or dislike. I was learning towards the later for the majority of the time. It did begin to grow on me with lots of time - and I do mean lots. I began to like the “unusual characteristics” at times, but then it all went pear shaped again and got a bit too much in the end. Grateful for the experience and very grateful if I must be completely honest that I didn’t fork out lots of cash on my own bottle.

For an alternate review take a look at Pierre W's over at Connosr. Once again, many thanks for the sample.


  1. Brillantly captured, Clint, as always. By all means this is a hugely challenging malt.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Pierre. I most likely would never have had the chance to capture it if it wasn't for your generous sample. I've poured my self another dram tonight (third separate night for tasting this) and there is not a lot of change. The Soursob, rubber and vinegar is still dominant on both the nose and palate. Again with water the palate/finish becomes a litter bitter. Appears to have a lot more burnt mater present this time around - a bit of burnt peel to be precise. "Unusual characteristics" are here to stay regardless of time and oxidation - perhaps the only change differences are a few singed elements and the sherry is more recognizable. Although some things are more recognizable, again, these only become pressnt once past all the other dominant attributes. I will reiterate, a pleasant experience none the less - good in a few ways but too challenging in many others.