Nose: Nutty and a little sappy at first, then a mossy earthiness, new leather, a grapey raisin character and a very faint hint of truffles. Develops very nice notes of brownies and chocolate fudge cake after a couple of minutes in the glass.
Palate: The grapey note is the main player initially, then some firm oak, chopped brazil nuts, pepper and clove spices and finally getting grapey again as the earthy notes appear. This is not the kind of sweet sherry one gets with an Aberlour, for example – it’s a drier sherry character. Lovely, slightly drying, mouthfeel makes it moreish.
Finish: Good length, becoming dry and more oak-tinged without any bitter notes creeping in.
Comments: A relatively gentle Karuizawa when compared to some of its merciless older siblings, but with plenty going on nonetheless. Very interesting to try the Karuizawa sherry style at this age, with the interplay of sweet, dry and savoury giving impressive depth for its comparative youth.