Person who doesn‘t know much about whisky would definitely guess that Karuizawa is japanese name. Those who know more will tell, that this distillery was closed in 2011, while production ceased on 2000. So I have 2 bottles here of malts which were vatted of very last drops made in 1999 and 2000. Those are releases of 2012, vatted from malt matured in sherry casks. As already tasted before some older ones (most of them were subalime, you check them on Japan malts menu, top right corner), I‘m really curious about these two, about 12 year old with just difference in strength. So let‘s go with Karuizawa „Spirit of Asama“ (48%) and Karuizawa „Spirit of Asama“ (55%). I believe beferences will be minimal, I took a chance to buy both as prices are within my budget, keeping in mind this is closed distillery.
I will start from lighter one. Pleasant notes confirm that malt was matured in sherry casks, palate even more – lots of nuts, leather, chocolate notes. Really pleasant and well balanced. Long and firm finish permits to have full pleasure. Maybe even too much of everything – chocolate, leather, spices.
The second, higher in alcohol is very similar. More freshness and more nuttiness than previous one. More power, obviously cause of higher alcohol content. Taste is identical also. Maybe tiny bit more flavor. Maybe little better then the first. Because I‘m a whisky geek and I love malts that are undiluted or diluted to higher than standard strength. You can dilute it by yourself always! And to your preferred strength. But I‘m sure, for majority, lower strength version would go better. It is balanced very well.