Review: Karuizawa 30 year sherry cask #5347, red geisha label

Karuizawa is considered the top Japanese whisky brand, well because it tastes good. The typical “lost distillery” story: bad times came upon the distillery, distillery gets acquired by a company that isn’t interested in whisky production, another party comes in and buys all the old stock after free ageing, releases bottles cask by cask with some creativity, becomes legendary. This bottle is from the geisha series, which typically releases multiple bottles at one time with a geisha illustration on each label. So far, the bottles were released in pairs with half a geisha face on each of the labels.

Nose: smooth honey and herbs.

Palate: smooth, light sweetness, no wood, no honey (which comes out in the finish), hard to describe but excellent flavor.

Finish: dry, wood, moderately long, mostly wood flavors.

I understand there isn’t much in terms of tasting notes, but I feel it help gives a baseline to readers as to my taste. Nonetheless, it truly is an excellent whisky. Other than the obvious sherry influence, the lack of additional recognizable flavors is interesting because the finish has spicy wood flavors. Dry glass is purely light wood elements. Although slightly wood based, an excellent dram, totally different class. Had this shot at Sexy Fish Bar in London. The bottle label was water damaged (waterfall behind the bar). Even though the bar offered a newer bottle for the picture, I hesitantly declined because I like to “keep it real” (i.e. original).

Grade: A

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