The next Karuizawa – Will you get your hands on one?

Closing out our Japanese high end quartet is the 1981 Karuizawa, to be released sometime in the near future by Specialty Drinks through The Whisky Exchange. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it may be higher than the £375 of the October release, a speculation I’m making simply because tasting it cost a full dream dram token, rather than a half a token, as did the two Karuizawas released, and since the guidelines were that dream tokens are to be charged only for whiskies costing £500 and over. As I said, though, this is mere speculation.

Photo Credit:

If you read yesterday’s post on the 29 and 30 year olds, you’ll recall that the characteristic Karuizawa woodiness is very prevalent and serves as the canvass upon which the other flavors and aromas paint.  The 1981 somehow retained a more traditional sherry cask character, and is far less woody and much more “sherry”. This release is of a cask selected by Specialty Drinks LTD

Karuizawa 1981, Single Sherry cask, Bottled 2014 (63.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Dark bronze, slow forming legs.

Nose: Oak, dark chocolate (>85%), espresso, faint orange, fresh cherry, cloves and nutmeg and baked pears in wine. Water brings out fresh fruit, namely red apples and ripe pears.

Palate: Full bodied and dry with notes of sherry, dark chocolate and rum.

Linger: Long and satisfying, with notes of red wine, dry oaky tannins, an undertone of sweet and dark berries with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.



This is a real beauty, with the oak and sherry interplaying beautifully.

If I could, I’d decree that as this bottle gets rung up in the store, the seal is to be broken so bottles get sold open and actually are enjoyed in glasses….In my dreams  🙂






3 comments on “The next Karuizawa – Will you get your hands on one?
  1. Tony says:

    Yep – this was a wonderful Karuizawa and better IMHO than the other two at the show (not that they were at all bad, but they were as you pointed out they were wood dominated unlike this one which was more balanced).

  2. Tony says:

    Btw – are we sure this is a single cask? No cask number which is unusual for a Karuizawa.

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