I actually had the second half of my sample bottle last night after all the Hanyu. The first half was very good, though a bit unexpected with lots of ginger and chili. I realized that my palate was just 'off' that night, so I decided to try again. This expression came out earlier in the year and sold out very, very quickly (minutes for a few hundred bottles), and it's been well- reviewed so far. The real problem with these bottles is that so many people just sit on them. Alas.
Nose: This is very much in line with Karuizawa 'Noh' bottlings that I've had; a touch darker, heavier, and richer in profile. Fig, prune, plum, dates. Coffee, high cacao chocolate that's just slightly melted. Slightly citric like from oak tannins in an elderly Armagnac. Mushrooms, sandalwood, thin salty smoked meat, raisins, and dried flower petals. Loads and loads of tobacco and cigar. (with water) fruitier and the notes are sweeter and jammier. slightly more extracted, in a good way, more refined and elegant, and at least as good.
Palate: Thick and wonderfully rich. Tobacco, cigar wrapper, syrup, rum, licorice, anise, various liqueurs. There is a plastic quality, but it just works, oddly enough, playing a good role in the transition of flavors across the palate. More chocolate, malt, and coffee. (with water) Water subdues the flavors a touch, just a touch, but all the flavors are there and still very strong. New notes of, yep, chili and ginger. Chocolate is a bit more obvious.
Finish: More of the same, and more bitter coffee grinds (small quantity - a little goes a long way, and this makes you want more). Salty-smoky meat, lit cigar, tobacco, and all the rest. There really IS something to these Noh bottlings. This was fantastic. I'll have to ahem open my bottle before too long. A/A+
I was lucky enough to have a cold one random weeknight that kept me awake until the very early morning... just when the bottle happened to go online at The Whisky Exchange. Every so often, Karuizawa samples will turn up at various whisky sample shops, but, bottles or samples, they go far, far too quickly. I'll drink whatever I get, but it seems like most of these bottles are just sitting in cabinets/bunkers.
Wo0w...where do you pick up these bottles from? I dont think there's any chance ill find that in Adelaide (Australia). The taste sounds delicious...but unique compared with other japanese whiskies. Im intrigued.