Karuizawa Spirit of Asama 55

55% ABV, £61.34 for 70cl

Score: 85/100


What they say:

Whisky from the closed distillery of Karuizawa in Japan is fairly in demand these days. With that in mind, the idea behind the Spirit of Asama releases is quite simple and rather excellent. These single malts have been created from 77 casks filled during the final two years of the distillery’s production (1999 and 2000) and released in good numbers at an affordable price. Enjoy the legendary Karuizawa now before it’s too late!

What I say:

The 5th and final dram from the Water of Life Society (WoLS) meeting 7/03/2014 – Taketsuru’s Journey. Could there be a more fitting way to end a tasting on the father of Japanese whisky himself: Masataka Taketsuru than with the final whisky available from one of Japan’s most cult distilleries. Established in Miyota on the slopes of Mount Asama in 1955, Karuizawa was the smallest distillery in Japan and due to downturn in demand was mothballed in 2000 and finally closed forever in 2011. Since its demise the whisky from Karuizawa has achieved cult status worldwide as resources diminish. Proof therefore that the Japanese whisky industry has come full circle since the early days.


Russet Brown


Rubbery, caramel, chlorine – swimming pools,  treacle toffee


Warming with molasses, treacle, caramelised sugar, prunes and leathery tannins, aged oak wood


Drying, rubbery leather fizz (sherry maturation) hints of struck matches in the finish