This is the older of the two standard range Karuizawas. There seem to have been expressions of this that are very different in character. Some reviews have talked of a fruity, warming tipple. I found nothing like that here although the nose (honey and lemon) seemed to be gesturing in that direction. The taste was dominated by dry, tight saltiness. There were very restrained and distant notes of tobacco, smoke and liquorice near the finish, but it was very much a one chord whisky. I didn't dislike it. In a certain context, it might work very well. With a cigar, perhaps?
Reviews by others
There are at least three different Whisky Magazine reviews of a Karuizawa 17: Issue 26, Issue 56 and Issue 64. Only that last one seems to bear any resemblance to my impressions.
Abv 40 per cent
Price (July 2008)
700 ml - 8,790 to 10,494 yen
Heartfelt thanks go to Takeshi Mogi for sharing this whisky with me.