Sandwiched between Japan’s soaring Southern Alps and the towering Central Alps, at just over 2,600 feet, Mars Shinshu is Japan’s highest whisky distillery. The Hombo family have been distilling for more than a century and they added whisky to their repertoire in 1949. Back then the distillery was located inKagoshima Prefecture on the southern most island of Kyushu. Until 1984, it was the southernmost whisky made in Japan, which ended with the Hombo clan moving the distillery to the idyllic alpine setting of Miyada village in southern Nagano Prefecture. They chose this site for its cool temps, which slowed maturation, and the plentiful, soft, granite filtered snowmelt fed aquifers. Smart choice. The whiskies are elegant, smooth and very complex.
Kiichiro Iwai, the name sake for this Mars Whisky, was a silent pioneer of Japan whisky. This whisky is inspired by great whiskies of America. A majority of corn balanced with light malt aged in ex bourbon barrels. Ideal for daily sipping, in a mint julep or an old fashioned.
TASTING NOTES: Sweet with fruit flavors like pear, quince and hints of red fruits and vanilla.
This is malt driven spirit is truly a reflection of contemporary Japanese whisky. Incredibly balanced, soft and layered. A blending of sherry, bourbon and wine casks with hints delicate hints of peat make for a harmonious whisky that would make Iwai-san proud.
TASTING NOTES: Ripe Cherry, honey toffee with a beautiful ginger spice.