Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Today, we’re continuing our series of Karuizawas for Taiwan with two specimens from the 1977 vintage.
Karuizawa 1977 / 2011, cask #4747, 66.9%abv for Taiwan (Vintage Label)
Nothing on the nose really prepares you for the palate: sudachi, lime, pencil shavings, eucalyptus and Damask rose wax. It’s extraordinary. Sudachi is one of the signature notes of old Karuizawas – something I’ve never found in any other whiskies, Japanese or other – and here it’s at its most beautifully defined. It leads the attack, hand in hand with lime notes – refreshingly sour. Then, there’s a long interlude of pencil shavings and new plank, before the Damask rose notes (wax, rose water) enter and melt into air (the finish) rather than fade. You couldn’t orchestrate the progression of flavours and aromas any more beautifully. Water makes the nose and palate a bit more candied – personally, I prefer it without.
Karuizawa 1977 / 2011, cask #3584, 64.1%abv for Taiwan (Geisha Label)
The palate is more compact, very integrated and therefore more difficult to analyze: old chapel notes, beech nuts, sultana raisins, a hint of kale juice, rhubarb jam... Water brings out more sweet fruit notes (overripe pears, peaches) – both on the nose and the palate – but makes it much more one-dimensional. The finish is medium-long – shorter than you’d expect – and reveals a nice chicory note.
There were only 169 bottles of the Geisha 1977. Unfortunately, we don’t know how many bottles cask #4747 (the Vintage 1977) yielded. Both were released two years ago, so – needless to say – the only chance of obtaining one of these now is on the secondary market. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bottle of the #4747 listed on any auction site. I imagine anyone who knows what’s in the bottle would have a hard time parting with this.
Read more about Karuizawa Distillery here.