Karuizawa 1984 Sherry Cask #3663

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The news: we have a new Karuizawa going up on the website – Karuizawa 1984 Sherry Cask #3663 bottled 2013 at 56.8%. However, we’ve decided that we’re going to do things a little differently with this release…

The problem with trying to sell single cask Karuizawas is that everybody wants them. We’re really fortunate to have some incredible casks of whisky from Karuizawa, but when we want to put a new bottling on the site it’s become increasingly obvious that we need to come up with something a bit different to simply pressing the ‘switch on’ button on our website.

We spread sales of our last release, a rather excellent Karuizawa 1981, over two days to give more people a chance at grabbing one, but even so it sold out in less than two minutes, combined across both days. Here’s a little graph that I already posted in our round-up of 2013:

Karuizawa 1981

The faint blue line is the total traffic on our website, dark blue is the amount of it that was to the Karuizawa page…

80% of our traffic was on the Karuizawa page for the minute that people were trying to purchase it. 80%! During the Christmas rush!

Unfortunately, part of having a bottle that’s so popular and also in limited supply is that not everyone can have one, so we’ve been trying to come up with different ways of allocating bottles so that it’s not all about how fast you can click and type your card details. To that end, we’re not just going to stick the bottle up on the website and let nature take its course.

But before we go into details, what’s the whisky like?

Karuizawa 1984 #3663

Karuizawa 1984 Sherry Cask #3663 Bottled 2013. 56.8%. £325

A few bottles of this trickled out into the wild back in October last year, around the time of The Whisky Show, but this is the proper release now that all of it has arrived in the UK.

Nose: Spiced cake batter and glacé cherries with cloves, sandalwood, polished oak and waxed deal. It has a base of dark, savoury notes, with damp earth, bark and forest floor hints. On top there’s sweet cedar (cedar syrup?), dark leather, hints of barrel char bitterness, woody reson, Cola bottle chews, and liquorice. Water brings out fruity dark chocolate, raisins and garibaldi biscuits.

Palate: Dark, rich and thick – raisins and leather, clove and cherry, coffee and ginger. Black pepper spice, dark oak and gently bitter char sit against sweet liquorice, green leaves, mulchy forest floors and tingly, woody spice. Water amplifies the liquorice flavours, although knocks out some of the sweetness, emphasising the earthy, savoury notes.

Finish: Dark barrel char, savoury earth, peppery spice and gentle sweet oak.

Comments: It’s pretty much what you’d expect – a big, rich and over-the-top sherried whisky from Karuizawa. It has the forest floor and old woody notes as well as all the fruit, spice and stickiness that you want from a bottle like this. It’s not quite as elegant as the 1981 we released previously, but it makes up for that with intensity of flavour and a beautifully thick mouth feel.

So, how are we going to sell it? To remove the time sensitive nature of the first-come-first-served approach we’ve done in the past, we’re going to allocate bottles by lottery.

To be in with a chance of buying a bottle, simply go to this page, click the ‘Enter Email’ button and, well, enter your email address. We’ll close sign up on Friday 7th February at 23:59pm, and select a bunch of names from those who have given us their email. Those lucky few will be emailed with details of how to buy a bottle and given 10 days do so. If they haven’t bought a bottle by the end of the 10 days then we’ll reallocate their bottle to someone else who hasn’t had a chance to buy one yet. And so on until all the bottles are sold.

Also, a bit of advice – please don’t enter the lottery multiple times. We are checking and so far the naughty people who have done so are fairly obvious.

Now get on over to the web page and sign up. Good luck!

Posted in Japanese Whisky, Whisky News


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