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Mars 1992/2004 12 Year old

Fruity and spicy

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@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

13th Apr 2014


Mars 1992/2004 12 Year old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Mars
  • ABV: 43%

Mars whisky is produced at the Shinshu Mars distillery located at 798 meters above sea level in Miyata village in the Japanese prefecture of Nagano. It was built in 1985 by its parent, Hombo Shuzo (“Hombo Brewing”) that is famous for their shochu and plum wines. Prior to 1985, Hombo's whisky operations had been at Kagoshima on the Southern Island of Kyushu and in Yamanashi where it had originally begun its whisky line in 1960. The distillery stopped whisky production in 1992 due to a decrease in demand; however production was resumed in 2011 following a recovery of the Japanese whisky market. This particular expression was distilled in 1992 – right before production stopped – then aged in American white oak casks and was bottled in 2004 from cask #1143.

The nose is sweet and nutty. There are a lot of vanilla flavours, accompanied by honey and hints of apricot. Quite rich and luscious!

The palate is medium-bodied, very fruity and just a little bit spicy. The same flavours as on the nose reappear: vanilla, honey, and apricots, this time followed by distinct banana elements.

The finish is rather short and spicy. Vanilla and hints of apricot round this off, while some spiciness remains on the tip of the tongue until the very end.

This is a graceful single malt, not overly complex but very enjoyable nonetheless. It was a fitting dram on the warm summer evening when I tasted it for the first time.


Victor commented

@Pierre_W, thanks for an interesting review. I'm guessing you are reviewing from a sample here...that would be quite the dusty bottle find to buy a bottle that was bottled 10 years ago. Also, I would guess that it would be quite a shot-in-the-dark wondering what the whisky would be like. With production resumed in 2011 it will likely still be quite awhile before Shinshu Mars distillery sells any recent production whisky products.

10 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

Hi Victor, many thanks for your comment. Yes, you are right, I was reviewing from a (generous) sample here. A fellow malt maniac who lives in Japan managed to secure a bottle and was kind enough to share it with me. Mars keeps releasing bottlings from their old stock - worth checking out, although I am not sure if any of those will make their way to the US.

10 years ago 0