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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.