Karuizawa Spirit of Asama

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
48.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Bottled for
The Whisky Exchange
Added on
15 nov 2012 9:04 pm

Average value

€ 3875.38

33 × in wishlist

152 × member ratings

345 × in collection

Whisky reviews for Karuizawa Spirit of Asama

26 users have left 29 reviews for this whisky. Average rating is 86.43 points.

  1. Sonett scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    With a price around 70 EUR it is a bargain. Should have bought more than two bottles. Interesting with a Karuizawa the not is a sherry monster. I guess this one shows more of the real Karuizawa caracter.
    • Nose
      A hard to define nose but there are rubber and malt, some kind of tropical wood, sherry, vanilla, a hint of tobacco as when they are moistured in a cigar factory and finally a hint of 
    • Taste
      Comes in a bit sweet then taken over by slightly bitter spices. The bitter taste vanish and moves more towards dates and soft peppery spices
    • Finish
      A rather long and spicy finish fading out in dry woody sherry tones

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  3. maurisso scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    Thanks Ale for the generous sample. A great malt, authentic sherry and a little bit dirty the way I like it. Great experience.

  4. Dorain scored this whisky 73 points Expert Senior

    If quality drops so much, that's a good reason to close the distillery.

  5. Gusto scored this whisky 88 points Expert Senior

    Beautiful and deep density in the aroma. Unfortunately, the sulfur is also strong. Too much for me.
    • Nose
      85 85
    • Taste
      89 89
    • Finish
      89 89

  6. Indianerhäuptling scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      87 87

  7. ScoutGott scored this whisky 80 points Member Senior

    Notes on a sample.
    My first karuizawa. Very excited.

    No ... No ... It's not mine. First of all a nice load of pungent sulfur in the nose, what a shame. I let him stand and breathe, sometimes it disappears with a little more air.
    A little better, now all sorts of herbs I like. If only it weren't for the annoying sulfur. Otherwise there isn't much going on in the nose.

    Very herbaceous in the mouth, slight bitterness from the wood. Toffiffee. The sulfur is still getting through too much for me, match alarm. Otherwise I won't taste much more. Complexity nil.

    I think he would surely find his fans with other numbers on the price tag,

    For me that's ok, but nothing more.

  8. Gris scored this whisky 81 points Expert Senior

    That price (especially at the whiskybase shop for 1.750€) for a whisky that doesn't deserve more than 82/100 (and the original price of 65€)... What a mad world...

  9. LiquidThoughts scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      Very dry sherry, dried ham, dried tomato, black pepper, cherry, raisins, cassis, some soy,
    • Taste
      Driest raisins, salami, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, saffron, camphor, cardamom, black cherry
    • Finish
      Dry, damp oak, nutmeg, pepper

  10. dRambo scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      89 89
    • Finish
      89 89

  11. ASWhisky scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    A nice simple karu
    • Nose
      Raisins, some sherry
      Slightly sulfur
      Some smoke and peat
      Caramelized red fruits
      Pepper, chili
    • Taste
      Easy to drink and tasty
      Everything from the nose
      mocha chocolate
      walnut shells
    • Finish
      Nutty fruity pleasant

  12. Tom na Gruagaich scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    Lots of sherry, cigar box, tobacco, some sulfur, dark fruit, sweet, soft, intense. A really good sherry box.

  13. FritzeKrautman scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    The whisky itself is amazingly different. And not bad at the same time. However, he needs a lot of time in the glass to exploit his full flavor potential.
    • Nose
      First, a soy sauce is poured into the face. This sauce floated on delicious chocolate pudding. You should not have taken any rubber dishes for the pudding. But no matter. I smell and smell: sauce, chocolate pudding and gum always changing. Is somehow interesting. But is there anything else coming? 20 minutes later in the glass: peach and cinnamon. Where did they bring that up?
    • Taste
      Chocolate, shoe polish, bitter oak, later a bit fruity. Alcohol is relatively subdued for the 48%.
    • Finish
      Medium long, pleasant, moderately bitter finish.

  14. whiskycuse did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    Tasting Notes:


  15. maltsabine scored this whisky 86 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      83 83
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      88 88

  16. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur


    N: Tomato-Worcestershire sauce-tamari combo, marzipan, plasticine,....i could go on and on with regards to descriptors but let’s just say it’s very open to suggestion. Somewhat old-style flavour wise with vibrancy. The next day the nose is fully fungal with ginger, soy,…, it’s a proper oriental dish.
    T: Ok, yeah - that's nice. Stands out clearly from the five other sherried whiskies i’ve tried tonight with deep sherry notes that sit in-between the rubbery Glenrothes and the grainy Glendronach 15 Revival - but yet with a deeper, richer and denser oriental sherry style.
    F: Rubbery sherry, shoe polish, cognac, gunpowder sulphur,…
    C: Yes, I know it's one of god's gifts and everything and it’s very good but of course it’s not perfect. There’s plenty of complexity on the nose and it tastes fab, but the resulting finish is,...  a little too much sherry influence - an influence that seems to mask the underlying spirit somewhat. These were merely niggles when this was released at just under £50 and this is a blend of what was left over pretty much, but at the ridiculous prices this bottle fetches now I’d have no qualms in selling unopened bottles - in order to buy more miniatures!

    Scores a B

  17. spigray scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    price tag is high as I bought my bottle at around 75 euros :-)
    • Nose
      89 89
    • Taste
      89 89
    • Finish
      88 88

  18. spigray scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    n: big sherry nose, with rubber, clay, sulphur and wet leaves, mushrooms.
        sultanas and prunes but this time they do not play the main role in my opinion.
        chocolate, leather and cigar boxes. traces of vick vaporub.
    t: oily mouth feel, lots of rubber within the sherry, chocolate and leather again.
       dryer than I would have expected. again these mushrooms, this time even more.
       again the dried fruits but somehow covered with these morbid tastes of
       clay and earth. very special.
    f: long, still earthy

  19. whiskymonkey scored this whisky 89 points Member Senior

    Even though this is one of the 'budget' Karuizawa's (I guess EUR 500 qualifies as budget, when you have to fork over a couple of thousands for an older single cask...), it shows the qualities that made this distillery so famous.

    Very floral, lots of fruits, especially berries on the nose and in the taste, very long finish. It is not as round as its more expensive brethren, there is a trace of sulfur and more oak. But the oak is something I usually do not mind. 

    It is matured in 12 year old sherry casks, and even though it is very apparent that it is a sherried whisky, it has so many other dimensions that in my opinion only Karuizawa's have. 

    So is it justified that the price has increased from under EUR 100 a few years ago to around EUR 500 now? It depends... if you ask me, yes, as this seems one of the few 'drinkable' Karuizawa's. Unless you don't mind opening a bottle of a few grand.
    • Nose
      89 89
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      90 90

  20. Dionysus scored this whisky 78 points Expert Senior

    This bottle could still buy 2 years ago for 72 euros. Despite the fact that with this the sherry would taste less than with other Karuizawa's it is still too much sherry for me. Not really my thing.
    • Nose
      82 82
    • Taste
      75 75
    • Finish
      74 74

  21. MY MALTS scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    Marvelous. My dearest Japanese ... Thanks to Phibo ... ;-)

  22. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    N: Toffee and raisins galore with fungus [oyster mushrooms] wood oils, a touch of creosote, oily vanilla and huge, clean and oaky soft maltiness.
    T: Oily, malty arrival at full power without heat, although a few drops of water may be desirable. Huge vanilla and bitter<sweet with significantly less sherry influence here compared to the trifle monster on the nose. Short but marvelous full on development with a very fine mouthfeel indeed.
    F: Salty light aniseed finish that goes from bitter to sweet in a flash with a sour edge. Seemingly short finish at first with those vanillas hanging on by fingertips but actually theres a rather more complex lingering for the toffee/fudge malt coupled with that bitter to sweet interplay.
    C: Powerhouse malt with a glistening controlled performance all the way through. An extraordinary bottling for the original price of £54 but harder to justify at £280 [Jan ’15].

    Scores a B+

  23. Cast Olila scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      87 87

  24. GLEN MAUR scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      87 87

  25. bestofwhiskies.com scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    The link is valid, so is the price! Still a few left.

    277,09 VAT included!


  26. Wild Thing scored this whisky 81 points Expert Senior

    Is not bad, but unfortunately not my taste.
    • Nose
      First, the raisins literally jump out of the glass directly into the nose. Malt, chocolate and sherry have a really hard time against the dominant raisins. Also quite strong earthy notes can be found in the glass, as well as pine needles. Spices like ginger, and I think nutmeg also comes to light.
    • Taste
      It starts off sweet and turns a bit bitter and spicy. Already going in the direction of coffee. Ginger and white pepper are in the foreground. Of the strong raisins that were still in the aroma, not much left in the mouth. Something burnt sugar.
    • Finish
      Medium long with dry sherry and malt. Has something of a cognac about it.

  27. Wild Thing scored this whisky 81 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      80 80
    • Taste
      81 81
    • Finish
      80 80

  28. numen scored this whisky 86 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      Rich and fudgy malt, obviously sherried, chocolate, and then dashes of
      sweet red fruit behind it. Kirsch at first with damp forest floor.
      Fairly typical baseline Karuizawa. Faint notes of rubber/sulphur, but
      hardly 'off' or wrong. Strawberry eau-de-vie (and sweet) emerges as the
      main fruit, and some touches of polished leather. Really delicious and
    • Taste
      Malty and oaked. Bitter oak. It's almost on cedar, though also out of
      balance and without direction. As the bitterness subsides, it regains
      its form, but it was just a bit of a mash-up on initial tasting. Verdant
      forest floor, red fruit in the depths. More coffee than chocolate,
      probably from the wood. Ginger, too, with some chili. Almost some rancio
      from an old cognac. Almost.
    • Finish
      Slightly mentholated, still on most all the same notes. Generally very
      good territory. The sulphur is slightly more distinct here, but it
      provides echoes of ham and soy sauce. Delicious. I really enjoyed the
      Asama 46%, and we're in the same ballpark. This has a more powerful
      nose, but the palate is less elegant and more obviously sulphured.

  29. Master Quill scored this whisky 85 points Expert Senior

    A marriage of 77 Sherry Butts from 1999 and 2000. The whisky is about 12yo.

  30. Titi94 scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur

    Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

    Nose: Almond and hazelnut, hints of pine resin and Christmas cake. A touch of morello cherry, boiled sweets and dessert wine, hints of spice, truffle and pine needles.Palate: Incredibly rich palate entry with notes of sultanas and dark chocolate. Calves leather, soft smoke and overripe grape. Clove oil and nutmeg come late palate, as does the vaguest hints of rancio/truffles.Finish: Forest floor, sweet sherry and gentle wood smoke. Leathery.


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