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Well, my first set of notes in a long time. I'd sipped this before I went on hiatus, and have had it a few times since I resumed sipping. Here's hoping that I haven't lost my sense of smell or taste!
Nose: Rich and fudgy malt, obviously sherried, chocolate, and then dashes of sweet red fruit behind it. Kirsch at first with damp forest floor. Fairly typical baseline Karuizawa. Faint notes of rubber/sulphur, but hardly 'off' or wrong. Strawberry eau-de-vie (and sweet) emerges as the main fruit, and some touches of polished leather. Really delicious and engaging.
Palate: Malty and oaked. Bitter oak. It's almost on cedar, though also out of balance and without direction. As the bitterness subsides, it regains its form, but it was just a bit of a mash-up on initial tasting. Verdant forest floor, red fruit in the depths. More coffee than chocolate, probably from the wood. Ginger, too, with some chili. Almost some rancio from an old cognac. Almost.
Finish: Slightly mentholated, still on most all the same notes. Generally very good territory. The sulphur is slightly more distinct here, but it provides echoes of ham and soy sauce. Delicious. I really enjoyed the Asama 46%, and we're in the same ballpark. This has a more powerful nose, but the palate is less elegant and more obviously sulphured.