Saturday, July 27, 2013

Memories of Karuizawa 16yo - 1996 Vintage

Cask# 3684 - 3rd Release - Outturn: 303 - ABV: 61.8% - Bottled: 2013

Nose: Alcohol burn and heat, but I guess that is expected given the abv. Past these attributes (I recommend a good 5-10 minutes in the glass before nosing) things begin to happen. Rich red apple skins, Redskins (raspberry-flavoured chewy confections), light cream sherry, steamed prunes, stewed rhubarb, and orange cake. Fruit is predominately consistent throughout with pan fried pineapple rings, rum spiked chutney, and fig jam given lots of time. There are a lot more aromas wanting to jump out but they appear to be blanketed by the alcohol. Interestingly at certain intervals I detected sweet beetroot. Water ramps up a tartness.

Taste: Intensely spicy with a woody zing. Heat, bitter tannins, raw burdock, fermented plums and spicy berries with alcohol infused grapefruit peel. There is a subtle suggestion of dried mint leaves. Dilution is the solution - candied citrus peel (orange/red grapefruit), chocolate malt and roasted honey glazed nuts. Water also cuts the intensity of the spice.

Finish: Long, tingly, tangy, spicy chutney with hints of dried mint leaves.

Comment: Perhaps it was the mood I was in but on many occasions I drew a blank in response to distinguishing the nose and palate. It was only after a good five drams could I really appreciate it and get rewarded. Interestingly enough I found no trademark rubber or toasted notes (coffee/toast) present. It was fun but I preferred the younger second release (13yo-1999) in comparison (a whole different flavor profile).

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