Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Karuizawa 1984 (64.5% abv) Cask 4021

Context: The bottle has been on my shelves for almost 6 months. It’s a dram that I've returned to on a number of occasions, each time like visiting an old friend who always has something new and interesting to say. In terms of the memory layers that are being folded into my experience of this whisky, it is already heavily laden with power and resonance. For me, it has associations with beauty, sorrow, tranquillity and turbulence, the reasons for which can be found in a forthcoming posting - "A tale of two whiskies Part 1 Karuizawa 1984 - The spirit and the silence". Pretentious bullshit you may be thinking (and you may be right although that is not my intention) – it is what it is. At the time of writing these notes I was sat alone, late evening, no noise but for the occasional soft hum of cars.

Colour: I often find it challenging describing the colour of whisky. After all, the colour will shift in different lights, it will mutate with a tilt of the head, evolve as the volume ebbs with each sip, in many ways it is as fluid as the fluid itself. Whilst meditating on this challenge I came across a beautiful image of Mokume-gane (a Japanese alloy - burl metal) which seems to capture all the colour permutations that I was noting – bronzes, golds, coppers....they were all there. 

Legs: Like teardrops clinging to the side of the glencairn, etching an arc into the glass, viscous, slow, and deliberate.

Nose: Really subtle combinations, a complexity that makes it difficult to tease the notes apart - but..... lots of fruit, tannins, zesty, soapy lemon, Christmas cake, pink marshmallow, sherry, leather & a hint of tobacco leaf.

Mouth: Powerful, 64.5% hit but very rich, very rich indeed! Invades the mouth, coating every surface. Warm sherried cherries, (almost Kirsch like), Black Forest. Wave upon wave of sweet heat and subtle spices. Chocolate and mint notes drift in and out

Finish: Long, warm, luscious

I always feel that one hint of a quality dram lies in its capacity to be enjoyed neat at high abv levels. Whilst this whisky opens up with the addition of a few drops of water, it can be savoured at full strength. 

This whisky has power and subtlety. It is both voluptuous and indulgent. A thing of beauty.           © Alcock (2013)

Bottled by The Number One Drinks Company

Was available @whiskyexchange - now sold out : (