Karuizawa 1971
Added on Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 at 07:35 PM
  Bottler: OB
  Age: 36 yrs Type: Japanese
  Vintage: 1971 Subtype: Single Malt
  ABV: 64.10 % Region: Japan
  Price: N/A Availability: Collectors Only
Cask 6878.  Bottled 01.15.2008.
Member Ratings and Notes
N:  Starts off with unique floral sherry notes, almost reminiscent of rye, but then it deepens and gets rich with chocolate, caramel dessert sauce, and then, as Anchorman would say, "it smells of rich mahogany and leather bound books".  
P:  Oh yeah, a nice blast of rich sherry oak extract...then mint chocolate chip ice cream. Quite dry.  The oak is a major player but it operates covertly and doesn't offend in any way.  It's the sugars that really take this to the next level, they are, as Jules woud say, "some serious gourmet sh**."
F:  Oranges, dark chocolate, and then mint chocolate fades for a long long finish.  The empty glass smells like it must be refilled.   And it is.

(Upon retaste a few days later, I upgraded from A- to A.  This stuff is awesome.)
Yep, sherry all over the nose. But it's a distinctly different and unusual type of it, very plummy (Was this even a sherry cask? Or a was it a plum wine cask or something? The label doesn't indicate). Hint of cheap pork hot dogs with a tinge of liquid smoke, which water brings out more of. Palate is rich plum-jammy-tastyness, your basic (though impressive) blast of dark fruits and berries. Finish is lengthy, with just enough chew to keep you chewing on it. Some pine aspects alternate in and out. This definitely is hot, but not as much as you'd expect from 64%. Altogether it's a bit of a one-note plum-pine thing, but very good. 
Beautiful nose with sherry notes of fig and spice, maybe a drop of Manischewitz.  The palate loses some of the vitality of the nose, and it's hot!  Still, down below the alcohol there are some good flavors there, both traditional sherry and some more savory notes, you just have to fight your way though the alcohol to get to it.  Even though it's hot, water doesn't really have the desired effect; it lessens the alcohol but instead of opening up, some of the flavors drop out. 

Often I comment that if something were only a bit higher proof it would get a better grade.  With this one, I find myself thinking the opposite.  If the proof was slightly lower, or really, if there were more balance and the alcohol flavors were more integrated, it would probably be in A- territory. 
Big sherry with lots of wood, spices and incense smoke. 
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