Karuizawa 1984

Overall rating
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Carpe Koï Serie
First Fill Sherry Cask
Number of bottles
64.5 % Vol.
700 ml
Bottled for
The Whisky Exchange
Added on
15 Oct 2012 8:28 pm
UncoloredNon-chillfilteredCask StrengthSingle Cask Whisky

Average value

€ 9369.23

30 × in wishlist

127 × member ratings

128 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Karuizawa 1984

21 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 91.60 points

  1. ASWhisky scored this whisky 96 points Connoisseur

    a very special whisky
    who has many things that I love and yet comes so very different
    a very beautiful inspiring and consistent nose
    the mouth is full of character and stunning
    with a great distance to the nose
    and creates tension
    The finish is very subtle and stays long
    here again distance to nose and mouth
    in the end I still have warming smoke from the oak fire and camphor
    with a hint of fine dark sweetness
    japanese noble;)
    • Nose
      old empty red wine barrels, dry cocoa and smoke
      2nd course: very fruity, crushed ripe cherries
      and an association from earlier:
      Picking blackberries on a warm late summer day
      You smell the warm ripe blackberries, sweet with a light acidity
      the old wood of the bramble bush and its warm leaves
      the dry soil of the long summer, mixed with the beguiling scent of the wild incense that grows among the blackberry bushes
    • Taste
      Here the scene changes completely
      and you are by the fire and have everything you need against the cold of winter
      hot dark chocolate, strong and dry, finely dotted with dark fruit sweetness,
      Oak wood in the chimney fire with smoke and spices, spicy sharpness, pleasantly glowing in the throat
    • Finish
      long and dry, oak, bitter, woody, again and again covered by fine dark sweetness
      > Salt, warming, wood and camphor
      (Incidentally, the same essential oil is found among other things in the incense, here is the nose at the very end but again to find)

  2. ASWhisky scored this whisky 96 points Connoisseur

    a very particular Whisky
    I love him and yet so different comes along
    a very beautiful and inspiring positive nose
    the mouth is full of character and gorgeous
    with a large distance to the nose
    and creates tension
    the finish is very subtle and stays long
    here again distance to the nose and mouth
    at the end I have still warming smoke from the oak fire and camphor
    with an idea of fine dark sweetness
    japanese noble
    yes! I'm in heaven
    • Nose
      old empty wine barrels, dry cocoa and smoke
      very fruity, mashed ripe cherries
      an association of formerly
      pick blackberries on a warm late summer day
      you smell the warm ripe blackberries, sweet with a touch of acidity
      the old wood of the blackberry bush, and its warm leaves
      the dry earth from the long summer
      mixed with the intoxicating smell of wild frankincense
      grows under the blackberry bushes
    • Taste
      the scene changes completely
      sitting at a fireplace you have everything need against the cold of winter
      hot dark chocolate
      strong and dry
      delicate crossed by dark fruit sweetness
      oak wood in the fireplace
      with smoke and spices
      spicy hotness
      throat pleasantly glowing
    • Finish
      long and dry
      oak & bitter
      repeatedly streaked with fine dark sweetness
      > salt
      a similar essential oil can be found in frankincense
      here comes the nose back

  3. hs305 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    [August, 2017]  Why not a Karuizawa head-to-head?  I am in the mood to do this 1984 versus a 15-year old from 1992 https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/7178/karuizawa-1992 selected by the Whisky Magazine.

    Colour:  The 1984 is auburn and the 1992 is one shade paler at russetmuscat.  The texture of the 1992 shows just a sticky fat ring at the top of the glass that very very late form some sticky tears (no legs at all).  Now this is what I call a fat and oily malt.  The 1984 does basically the same so both promise a great mouthfeel.

    Nose:  The 1992 nose is very punchy (60,4% abv) first and after you adopted to this a subtle, complex and clean old-style sherry profile shines through, really adorable.  The nose of the 1984 is bolder and even more complex, I like it much more (especially the leathery aspects).  

    Mouthfeel:  The 1992 arrives quite hot on the palate and coats the mouth nicely (just as the texture promised).  No bitter or adstringent moments.  The 1984 is even more coating and owns some slight bitter notes from heavy tannins (that are not unpleasant to me).  Again I like the 1984 better.

    Taste:  The 1984 offers a rich and multi-layered taste that in some aspects reminds me of a delicious old rum (e.g., from Caroni).  The 1992's taste is lighter and hidden behind the high alcohols, it really cries for water so I added some.  Now it gets smoother and more accessible but still it is rather shy and not what I would call a great dram.  Even more water does not help it just flattens the dram.  This round wins the 1984 with an advantage of 4 to 5 points.

    Finish:  The 1992 is rather short on this dimension and again very shy in its flavours and aromas (even when reduced with water).  Contrary to this the 1984 has a rich and long finish that nicely vanishes in different waves.  Again a big advantage for the older one with several points.

    Water opens the 1984 even further and adds some new aromas to the anyway complex profile while the 1992 does not really improve on water besides that it gets smoother.

    A surprising result:  While the 1984 kept the usually high expectations on a Karuizawa release the 1992 is average best (the nose is above but taste and finish are below average in my opinion).  Both are hopelessly overpriced - to give a hint:  As a drinker I am willing to pay around 200 to 250 Euros for the 1984 and not more than 50 to 70 Euro for the 1992.  Sounds crazy?  Think about who is crazy - me or the market?  To be honest, I do not care...
    • Nose
      93 93
    • Taste
      91 91
    • Finish
      93 93

  4. hs305 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    [June, 2017]  I had this dram together with a very good friend on a nice sunday afternoon.

    The colour is auburn and the texture shows many small sticky tears and no legs at all.  The nose is very punchy first (no wonder at 64,5% abv) but after a while it offers a beautiful clean sherry profile on nuts, raisins, orange peels and more, all in a great balance.  Not much of whisky aromas that I can detect at this high proof. The mouthfeel is just a little hot (surprisingly less given the abv) and peppery.  The taste is sherry sweet and quite closed when neat as is the finish.  Some drops of water open up the nose further and soothen the moutfeel.  The taste gets broader and nicely layered with some hints of peat, but it gets a little bitter too (tannins, of course).  The finish now is very long and sticks literally to the throat.  More water improve the nose further (the nuttiness turns into chocolate) and the taste offers now a spicy profile with dark chocolatey flavours.  And the bitterness that popped up with just some drops of water is now gone again.  This dram is an excellent swimmer and can stand even a fair share of water.  An excellent example of a whisky that changes its aromas and flavours literally with every drop of water you add.  Nevertheless completely over-hyped with a hyper-inflated price tag...
    • Nose
      94 94
    • Taste
      92 92
    • Finish
      96 96

  5. Gloin scored this whisky 95 points Expert Senior

    The whisky requires a lot of time. It's good for him to breathe for a while. The smell is like a pull that pulls you into the glass. A whisky to slow down. The finish and the nose are great, the mouth falls in comparison a little bit, but everything on an incredibly high level. A fantastic whisky, a work of art
    • Nose
      It starts with the soothing glow of a fireplace, then, after a moment of contemplation, the flavors explode, so many, I can not tell it apart, sweet sherry, tobacco, blood orange, old paper, all very old and ripe, a touch in the background Lime, wet rotten wood
    • Taste
      A powerful start and a creamy body, the whisky lies like a piece of glowing coal on the tongue, then it is suddenly sweet, slightly tart oranges, very slightly astringent, an interplay of sweet and sour, oak
    • Finish
      In the finish dominated by sweet oak, burnt sugar with a splash of orange juice, cocoa, very long, if you already believe that he is gone, it will be sweet, caramel and chocolate, whole milk now, in the end even comes once again Trace smoke

  6. dram-drinker scored this whisky 89 points Moderator

    Pretty powerful, quite some complexity, well drinkable but the overall is not convincing me
    • Nose
      90 90
      Nutty, dried fruits, dates, fine leathery notes, old wooden cabinet, spices, cloves, some cooked fruits - not bad
    • Taste
      89 89
      Very punchy, liquorice, more nutty, more spices, toasted bread, ssherry wood, pepper, little leathery
    • Finish
      88 88
      Long, burning, more woody - water recommended

  7. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur


    N: Surprisingly smoky and/or toasted, only a touch farmy to start. Soon enough a long shopping list starts to form but I only note the much later arrival of oniony pickles with intense gingers and ginger cake, if left neat. The sherry cask’s previous contents is rather quiet. This one needs time and a few drams to experiment with and fortunately we have both. It’s an unusual & unique nose.

    T: Bob’s mate’s son joins in, offering a colourfully subjective & unrepeatable yet enlightening tasting perspective. For me, I found this very acute/strong to taste, smoky/toasted again, firmly savoury, spirity, heathery and oaky-dry. This needs and takes loads of water. After a number of whoa there’s, we find out from Bob that 50/50 seems the limit. This dilution brings savoury herbal qualities still with only a little sweetness. It has changed with water but doesn’t add any great significance to the delivery apart from toning down the ethanol. Either way, this is a brilliant and unusual whisky, the smokiness & the oakiness the main attributes – nowhere near over-oaked, just the taste of plain [yet not plain] oak.

    F: Stays smoky, savoury with a bitter-y dry-ish oakiness and a firm likeness [in my mind], to that beautiful 1996 Arran [WLP91]. The finish seems short at first, but with water it’s rather long and waxy. Later, bitter smoky tar, burnt rosemary, heather, fairly drying but the uniquely waxy mouthfeel grows once diluted. Clean yet spirity, light witch hazel conclusion – the ever-formidable 64.5% spirit never far away from the action.

    C: I reckon the Yamazaki 18yo would have suited the host better, but either way, the whisky was almost inevitably going to be trumped by the occasion surrounding it. “I don’t get it”, says Bob’s mate. “Just like background music”, says the pianist.
    It turns out I’ve had this before, almost exactly 5 years ago in the same place. My scoring was less informed then but I put it in the same ball-park. Thank you Bob.

  8. helmutgw scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    + H2O: The alcohol is more compatible, the spiciness remains, the oblique note is integrated + H2O: more details, the Dram can handle a lot of water. 09.12.2017 91
    • Nose
      A little alcohol, sweet - bitter, captivating spice, sweeter!
    • Taste
      Alcoholic, warm, dull feeling around the mouth, spicy, becomes musty (not unpleasant).
    • Finish
      Alcohol, long, warm, so

  9. vredensever scored this whisky 95 points Expert Senior

    The aroma is dense: boiled dried fruits, old leather, old varnish cabinet, sherry, smoke of the fire in the garden, leaves, chocolate cake, apple jam, tobacco, some medical notes and salt. The taste is bright, spicy, sweet: a lot of wood, abundant spices (especially pepper), bitter chocolate, dried fruits, grilled sugar, caramel, iodine, salt, tobacco, smoke. The aftertaste is long: tart oak, spices, salt, iodine, smoke, tobacco notes, the fading sweetness of caramel and dried fruits. Conclusion . What to say? Just a holiday! A magnificent sherry "monster". It is easy to drink even with its strength. A drink is a treat. Deep, strong, beautiful. For yourself, your beloved and your closest people. One of the best whisky I've ever tasted. Rating: 95 (n24t24f23b24).

  10. lincolnimp scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    Price point kept at 88 so as not to alter score but in reality this is way overpriced for the product specifically.

    I have seen this go at auction in the UK for £2200 recently, for that money I could get 2 Brora 30 year 2004 and still have money left.

    This like all Karuazawa and Japanese whisky in general in my view (humble opinion) it  is a waste of money, if you are paying current prices that is, I did not buy into Technology shares when there was a boom and I have taken the same approach with Karuizawa and Japanese whisky.

    If you paid the start price on this then  it was a bargain and good luck to you but why people pay rock star wages (current price) for this sort of stuff is beyond me, like I said Brora 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 et al, much cheaper and much better.

    I agree this is a good whisky and enjoyable to drink if you go on the product alone, and I am grateful for the opportunity to try it but there is better Scotch around from some of the their closed distilleries at a fraction of the price.

    Someone on the Marketplace wants double what the going auction price currently is, 4800 euro well, do yourselves a favour and buy this 2007 Brora and put the remaining 3800 + euro to better use


    I rest my case.
    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      90 90


Add tasting tags by clicking the flavours you recognized in this whisky.


Whiskybase is founded in 2007 with the goal to create the biggest resource of whisky information in the world. A community driven website built by and for whisky enthusiasts.  

Whiskybase B.V. 
Zwaanshals 530 
3035 KS Rotterdam 
The Netherlands 

KVK: 52072819
VAT: NL850288836B01

Copyright © 2018

Forgot your password?