Dram Review: Karuizawa “Aqua of Life” Aged 35 Years

[55.0%・35 Years Old・Bottled in 2015・The Number One Drinks Company Bottling・Cask No. 7417・Single Cask Release of 473 Bottles]

Nose:

An utterly woody setting with strong Karuizawa influences, meaty and leathery with a splash of black peppercorn, very indulgently Sherried and carrying hints of matchstick and gunpowder. The rustic spirit gives an incredible bone broth oiliness with some earthy and umami notes. In time it grows more charming with more ripe dark fruits.

Palate & Finish:

Great, powerful dark fruits providing an explosion of sweetness that feels full on and marginally on the hot side. Big Sherry being forceful with some Sichuan spices alongside juicy raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon. The oak sticks to the tongue whilst light fruits and menthol faintly exist in the background.

The wood-led tannins overwhelm in the finish leaving the tongue a bit numbed.

Thoughts:

A dram that certainly ticks the box for big Sherry Bomb tragics but perhaps a bit lost in the oak. The Aqua of Life carries such immense pride and strength even at this advanced stage. It’s a proud Karuizawa, respectable but perhaps it’s just a tad too rough to be a geisha..

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas