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A terrific blended whisky from Japan’s most lofty distillery, Shinshu Mars, located 798 metres above sea level. The whisky is produced by Hombo Shuzo Ltd, a Shōchū producer dating back to 1872. Made in limited quantities, Shinshu Mars’ whisky is only distilled during the brutal winters on Kuyshu Island. The spirit itself is a combination of both grain and malt whiskies, aged in a mixture of Sherry, Bourbon and Wine casks.
Miyada, Nagano, Japan
The whisky is named after Kiichiro Iwai, known as “The Silent Pioneer of Japanese Whisky,” and the former mentor of Masataka Taketsuru, one of the Godfathers of Japan’s distilling industry.
Shinshu Mars is perfectly located for the production of whisky, with the cool climate mirroring that found in Scotland and Ireland. The altitude of the distillery makes for a lower pressure when distilling, said to produce a lighter final product. Finally, the Kuyshu Island is blessed with high quality water, filtered by granite, that Mars use in the distillation and dilution process.
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Initially, spiced honey, and gingerbread aromas dominate the nose, followed by a little creamy white rice, some subtle dried fruits and the faintest hint of peat smoke.
Full bodied, serving up flavours of maple syrup on vanilla biscuits, fresh bread, orange marmalade, cinnamon, soft cloves and a little gentle oak.
Lighter and brighter than the palate, with a medium length. The finish offers notes of cacao nibs, toffee, slightly drying leather, a touch of smoke and malty sweetness.