Review by Ruben of WhiskyNotes
This Karuizawa 1981 is another commemorative bottling for the 5th anniversary of Shinanoya. As you know bourbon versions of Karuizawa are quite rare.
Nose: a carpenter’s workshop really. Polished oak, freshly sawn pine wood, sandalwood. A little paint varnish and glue. It’s rather hard to find other aromas behind this wall of oak, but there’s definitely vanilla and cinnamon. A few drops of water bring out hints of apple pie and orange candy. Quite some eucalyptus too. Mouth: whoa, that’s heavy oak. Very concentrated and very oaky. Just spicy at first (ginger, pepper, aniseed) but it evolves to dry oak with quite some leathery notes and plain tannins. Green tea and a zesty bitterness. Wax and mint. Again it gains a little fruitiness and vanilla with a bit of water. Finish: long, oaky with pepper and ginger alongside some baked apples.
Very powerful and quite interesting although I think it’s overoaked. You’ll have to fiddle with water to get the best out of it. Around €250. Sold out.