Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
1st Fill Sherry Cask
Number of bottles
60.3 % Vol.
700 ml
Japanese Label
Bottled for
The Whisky Exchange
Added on
04 Oct 2013 10:45 am
UncoloredNon-chillfilteredCask StrengthSingle Cask Whisky

Average value

€ 11880.15

33 × in wishlist

123 × member ratings

116 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Karuizawa 1981

9 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 91.65 points

  1. dram-drinker scored this whisky 97 points Moderator

    Huge complexity, perfect balance, fruitiness, sweetness, absolutely no water needed, all great. For sure one of the best if not the best Karuizawa I had so far!
    • Nose
      97 97
      Intense, all kinds of acacia honey, driest fruits ever, demerrara sugar, molasses, black sticky tobacco, hints of tar, whiffs of leather (good one), heavy sherry, spices, nutmeg, espresso, mocha, dark chocolate - incredible!
    • Taste
      98 98
      Little punchy, creamy, mellow, sticky sweet, darkest fruits, darkest honey, chocolate, mocha, heaviest sherry wood, spices, nutmeg, toffee, menthol, eucalyptus, more molasses - what should I say else - just excellent!
    • Finish
      96 96
      Long, warm, zesty, good sweetness, fine woody notes, still fruity, endless!

  2. ASWhisky scored this whisky 95 points Connoisseur

    Yes, I'm in Heavenno words anymore - I fall in love 
    • Nose
      der alte Sherry ist eingetrocknet
      er klebt an Deinen Fingern
      was für ein Geruch
      Deine klebrigen Finger berühren das alte englisches Leder
      die blank polierten antiken Mahagonischränke
      sie blättern in alten staubigen Büchern mit dicken Ledereinbänden
      ein Blatt fällt zu Boden
      staubige ausgetrocknete Holzbohlen
      eingetrockneter (leicht säuerlicher) Sherry, alte Rosinen, Kampher, 

      Deine Finger berühren Deine Lippen
    • Taste
      Leder, alt und dunkel
      poliertes Holz
      eingetrockneter Sherry
      dunkle Schokolade
      Kampher - Rauch
      am Gaumen verlockend - altes Holz mit trockener Frucht
      Schwefel dazwischen
      Rauch und bissige Glut im Rachen

      der Rauch klebt als dunkle Schokolade in Deinem Mund
      feucht und fruchtig löst sich die Schokolade von Deinem Gaumen________________________________________leicht rauchig und bissig  - besonders aber: alt und schwer

      verführerisch schön am Gaumen
    • Finish

      Sherry, Tabak, Frucht, Rauch, Holz,  bitter und fruchtig süß

  3. Baanaanaabob scored this whisky 94 points Connoisseur

    Tar chocolate tobacco leather spices dark sherry molasses, thick, syrupy, such a deep karuizawa definitely one of the best out there

  4. lincolnimp scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    If you like thick syrupy sherry, you will like this.

    Good balance on display here.
    • Nose
      93 93
    • Taste
      94 94
    • Finish
      93 93

  5. lincolnimp scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    With Water:

    Basically the same but more sweet burning wood smoke now.

    The palate is even sweeter with water but still has a nice balance and sweetness.

    Finish not quite as long but a good length remaining sweet to the end.
    • Nose
      Smells like a syrupy sherry and it smells like its mixed with used engine oil. There are massive notes of black currant, blackberry, a little date and a few bubble gum notes.

      There is also some burning wood smoke and cinnamon.
    • Taste
      Very thick and creamy mouthfeel with a  lot of power. Its a mass of stewed dark fruits mixed with blackberry syrup and hints of blueberry.

      Jam, jam, jam.

      Palate is a little closed neat
    • Finish
      Vey long with a sticky sweetness.

  6. Dram Dracula scored this whisky 94 points Connoisseur

    Is this the epitome of Karuizawa greatness? Some say a Karuizawa is like an emperor with no clothes, but I guess they haven't tried some of these true gems. TWE said this cask may be one of the best there is. I cannot disagree with that statement. 
    • Nose
      Unbelievably complex, old, thick, sherry, full of umami (yes, I am actually salivating), old leather and tobacco, and very clean (i.e. no sulfur). Flavors are balanced, doesn't have a lot of alcohol sting, and I do not detect any of the typical Karuizawa wildness.
    • Taste
      Oh, I take that back. All the Karuizawa flavor is here, very explosive, but at the same time, quite elegant if that makes sense. A hint of expensive mushrooms (morel, porcini), a bit nutty, ever the slightest sulfur, but man, this feels nice. The Karuizawa wildness is restrained by the deep, old, complex sherry -- they work side by side. Lots and lots of raisins. Dr. Pepper cola. Soy sauce without the salt. Great syrupy mouthfeel. 
    • Finish
      Nice and long. A bit of spice now. Cherry cough syrup. Sweet cola at the end. 

  7. wheatfield scored this whisky 94 points Expert Junior

    Dark "old sherry" color, thick.  Intense, dark aroma.  Ranges from savory (wood ear mushrooms, rich beef stock) to fruity (blueberry puree, candied cherries) to sweet (rich sherry, dried fruits).  Pungent, as with other old Zawas.  The marriage between the malt and the cask here is exceptional.  Mouth is rife with dark fruit compote, even so much as fig at times, steak marinade, black walnut, exotic liqueurs.  Keeps changing from blueberry puree to Japanese mushroom to savory beef elements. Fantastic!

    Edit: It's been open and drank from for a couple months. Still great, though much more about pipe tobacco, and sometimes mint, than it was before. Meaty, savory, umami.
    • Nose
      95 95
    • Taste
      93 93
    • Finish
      94 94

  8. ChungLin scored this whisky 98 points Member Senior

    This is the statement from Karuizawa, an utterly stellar in ANY vintage from this distillery! I like it even better than the brilliant 6426, utterly complex and balanced, with utterly beautiful oakiness and no dryness at all. What an amazing bottle!

  9. cavalier66 did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    First tranche from TWE sold out online in 1 minute! Only touch typers need apply...


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