Tag Archives: Orange Marmalade

Karuizawa 32yr Single cask – 1977 – Cask number 4592

Japan – 60.7%ABV – full bottle is 70cl, my sample from Master of Malt was 3cl – $243 | £150 | €173

This is not available in US stores and not available in a full bottle from MoM anymore though, as of November 8th, 2010, you can still get a 3cl sample for $14 | £8.65 | €10 – I’d grab a sample while you can.

We in the United States of America are deprived.  Deprived and sheltered I tells ya!  When it comes to whisky, Japanese whisky that is, we in the US don’t have much to choose from.  Please do not misunderstand – I’m not discounting the Japanese whiskies we do have.  The Yamazaki 12yr and 18yr whiskies are fantastic.  So is the Hibiki 12yr blended whisky (to be reviewed soon).  We do not have, however, any Nikka whiskies like the cask strength beauty “Nikka Whisky from the Barrel” or any of their Yoichi whiskies like their vintage and younger single cask series, 10yr, 12yr, 15yr, 20yr, etc…

On top of this (and many, many other great ones out there), we do not have local access to any Karuizawa.  A crying shame.

These 1977 single cask Karuizawa bottles sold out from Master of Malt in about a day (update — these bottles sold out in 17 minutes!).  At £150 each, that’s impressive (if’n you ask me).  I had to get a sample – a mere taste of this stuff to see what I was missing.

Thankfully, the good folks at Master of Malt were kind enough to gift me a sample (todah rabah, gracias, danke, you rock).

Beyond the tasting notes I’ve read (I usually try not to read other people’s tasting notes prior to a review of a gifted sample as I do not want to be influenced in any way), I was intrigued by how the color of this whisky was described.  The folks at Master of Malt say “the whisky is tinged slightly green in colour, a product of the cask maturation.”  Let’s see if they’re right…

ColorDeep gold – no, green.  No… gold.  Perhaps the color of oloroso sherry but with a tricked-out iridescence to it.  Very cool.

On the nose Big hot pokers up my big Jew nose – at 60.7% ABV, I shouldn’t expect much less.

Getting past this now…

Boiled red cherries and crushed sesame seeds.

Thick cut orange marmalade.

Sort of a meaty quality to it.

Swedish meatballs.

Deeply sweet and savory at the same time.

On the mouth Not as hot as the nose but there’s a big sumo pepper fight going on in my mouth.

Light and bright in both flavor and feel then, a savoriness kicks in…

Roasted walnuts.

After the second sip, the mouth feel changes completely – this is some big league chewy stuff.

Unlit cigars with a side of Godiva chocolates containing ooey cherry and raspberry filling.

Finish It’s all on bitter cherries and walnuts.

Long and pleasingly hot.

In sum This is a G-d damn powerhouse of a whisky!  I’d say I only scratched the surface of its complexity.  Flavor-wise the balance was impeccable; everything worked.  It was so dead on with the palate but the nose was a bit hot for me.  While I wanted to add water to calm the nose down, I was a bit nervous to adversely affect the flavors & mouthfeel so I just manned up and dealt with the heat on the nose.  This is a contemplative dram, there’s no doubt about it.

Rick’s Mystery Dram series – Week 5 of 10 – Sample #5

Wow, I can’t believe that this series is half way over!  The journey has be great so far.  Rick, thank you.

As I mentioned in the 3rd post for this “Rick’s Mystery Dram” Series, I’ve decided to make this a wee bit more interesting by sending out a mystery dram to the correct guesser of the week’s mystery dram or, if there has been no correct guess, the sample goes to a commenter (randomly chosen).  Last week, Matt L of Houston TX won the mystery dram – and he has requested a Scotch whisky sample.  Matt, it’s on its way to you, thanks for posting your guess!  I hope you keep coming back.

Details on how to win a mystery dram sample (which will be Scotch or American whisk(e)y, your choice) are listed below, after the review.

For previous “Rick’s Mystery Dram” entries :

Here’s Mystery Dram #1 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage First Edition)

Here’s Mystery Dram #2 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage Golden Anniversary)

Here’s Mystery Dram #3 (which ended up being Evan Williams Single Barrel, 2000 vintage, barrel # 234)

Here’s Mystery Dram #4 (which ended up being Tonala 4 year Anejo tequila)

Review time!  And, by the way, this is an American whiskey again.

On the nose A big spicy nose filled with chewy nougats and nuts (the roasted kind you get at a state fair; for my US readers).

Woody spice, orange marmalade…  That chewy nougatty goodness keeps me coming back.

There’s rye in here for sure but it seems as if it’s not a youthful rye, the spice is big but round.

On the mouth The entry is thinner than water and much spicier than the nose had suggested.  Say huh!?  Not what I was expecting with that lush nougat  and marmalade I got on the nose…

This is an easy drinker but, similar to mystery dram # 2, I found that the drop off from the nose to the palate a bit off-putting.  Spiced oak starts to arrive…

Finish Wait a sec, the finish is ramping up here. Oh, this is making it worth it.  That woodiness comes back with a vengeance.  It’s getting big here in a real toasted oak sort of way.

In sumStrange.  If I were to just nose this I would have told you that this is most likely around the 50% ABV range.  Tasting it was another thing completely; I would have said 43-46% (with some sort of a wheat element to smooth out the tasting experience.  After the swallow, however, (and in fact, just prior to it), the spice began to build up and burn so now I’m back to a higher ABV – perhaps in the 50% range.  I liked this bourbon.  The palate left me wanting (a bit) but that nose was great!  A dram of this would be a nice way to unwind and end the day.


  • I’m guessing a clear rye influence – perhaps a rye whiskey (or a heavily toasted barrel to add flavor)
  • Thin mouth feel, smooth (perhaps some from the addition of wheat into the mash bill)
  • Powerful finish with a good amount of woodiness

JMSWS antes up!

For those who attempt to guess – each week I will be sending out one mystery dram (a small 5cl bottle) and the first person guesses correctly wins the dram.  Actually, if there are no correct guesses for the week then a winner will be chosen at random.  You win whether your right or not (like a weatherperson – right or not, s/he still has a job)!

So again, I will be awarding a free whisk(e)y sample every week to one lucky winner (whether you guess correctly or not).

How do I enter to win you ask?

Easy, comment on this post with what you think the mystery dram of the week may be.  It’s that simple.

I will let you choose the type of mystery dram — Scotch or American Whiskey (though that’s all you’ll know about it).  And if you’d like, you can send me your tasting notes and I’ll post them for my readers to guess at.  If you’d prefer the blind tasting to be between just you and me… that’s cool too.