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Mars Iwai Tradition Wine Cask Finish

Solid stuff!

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@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

24th Jan 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Mars
  • ABV: 40%

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 blended expression was finished in ex-red wine casks for about 12 months and was released in 2013 with an outturn of 2,495 bottles.

The nose is very light and floral at first, then slowly develops rich and fruity flavours. I got lots of honey and caramel, hints of orange peel as well as milk chocolate, and some winey notes right at the end.

The palate is rather light and peppery. Many of the flavours from the nose are back, such as honey, caramel, and red wine. In addition there are hints of ginger and fudge, followed by oaky spiciness.

The finish is of medium length, spicy and oaky, and pleasantly warming.

This is a very well crafted and superbly balanced blend, not too complex but hugely drinkable instead. Apparently the retail price in Japan for a 750ml bottle was 2,310 yen (approx. 16 euros/22 US dollars) – incredible value for money! Once again, many thanks for the sample, Clint A.!


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