Neat- Nose: The extreme sherry fruit bomb (still noble) from the bottle being opened subsided and turned to a more refined concoction in the glass. The fruit's all there, and possibly some cherry and orange liqueur, of all things. Brown sugar. A hint of saltiness, not brine, though maybe somewhere between ham and soy sauce. Strongly reminds me of the fruity/syrupy mass from my very favorite Armagnacs. You see where this is going. Figs and maybe week old ginger root. It smells thick.
Palate: I begin to doubt that this is 63% ABV because it's warm, but so very approachable and drinkable without water. Smooth and rich, not chewy. The soy and ham are a little more forward, and there's very light (clean) smoke. Some sweetness and a very classic sherry profile without being a bomb (though it will still appeal to those who love sherry bombs). Some of the wood comes out in the mid-palate. Honey and a little pepper. Some more of the liqueur.
Finish: Very satisfying. It has tremendous staying power. The chocolate malt appears, after a farewell from the game meats followed by some of the fruit. The smoke remains and rather captures a bit of the salt, sweet, and fruit. I didn't get to try this with water because, frankly, I went through it all before adding any. I daresay that I'll have to try it again with water another time. All the same, this baby is special. Now, all I need is a spare! A+ish.
@Jason0142 This one was no different, and probably a bit more so because I got it on the secondary market for around $450. It definitely fits well in that ne plus ultra range (though still well short, price-wise, of the monsters like Springbank local barley). I'm pleased to have gotten it, and it's a shame that Karuizawa is silent. I just wish that there were more options for good Japanese whisky in the US. Yamazaki is great, but it's sad not to get many other options.
Great review, sounds like an amazing whisky. I love Japanese whisky's but man can they be expensive. What was the price of this one?