Re: What are you drinking now?
Karuizawa Spirit Of Asama 55%. In two glasses, one glass regularly refilled and one glass poured and left to breathe for four hours. As i've put so much time into this i'll post my findings.
Nose: Straight off an A'bunadh style dried fruits and spice fruit cake. Rubber, hmmm, burnt rubber. The burnt rubber is quite strong and dominant, seems to be associated with an unpleasant mouldyness that together isn't good news. There is also a rather sharp smell that hits the back of the nose, similar to what you get with struck matches, but the struck matches note doesn't quite materialise, it's just that sharp edge (i'll have to keep an eye on that). There is plenty going on and the unpleasant aromas don't seem to dampen down the pleasant ones, but this is Karuizawa so the flavours are bold enough to hold their ground. With water a little more fresher fruit, spiced oranges and apples. After leaving in the glass for a few more hours the unpleasant side of things is much more reduced but still evident. That sharp edge is still there and so is the fustyness, the burnt rubber is subdued. However the apple is amplified, and the spiced oranges are quite lovely and there is cherries and other berries, cassia and cloves are strong with other milder spices such as vanilla.
(I should stress this is fresh open. My better half is not sensitive to sulphur and i passed her the glass and asked her to give me the biggest 3 flavours, she said burnt rubber and christmas cake).
Palate: Straight off its similar to the nose, the rubber has some fresh car tyre rubber along with the burnt effect. With time and water there is some plastic and varnish, with very light coffee and bitter chocolate that comes and goes. After several hours in the glass it's much better, fruitier and pleasant with big soft spices, but there is no hiding from the fact this is quite grim over all.
So, it's now been in the glass for 4 hours and watered down to about 40%, if it came out the bottle like this i'd be less disappointed for the money -- sort of faulty but interesting. Initially however i found it like i expected it, disappointing, a vatting of less than perfect casks that would never satisfy the high prices, and possibly don't have future potential to improve. If you're not sulphur sensitive then you may well enjoy this more than i have as the other flavours are bold enough and haven't suffered too much.