- Brand: Shinshu Mars
- ABV: 57%
A rather elaborate name for a 4 years old malt, wouldn’t you say? They are mighty proud at Mars’ of the fact that this is a sherry butt that matured in their warehouses in Tsunuki. Well, it’s more than just pride, of course. Their warehouses are in very different parts of Japan, after all, so the location will have an influence on the character of the final product. Will we be able to taste that, though? It was distilled in May 2015 and bottled at a cask strength of 57% in June 2019.
I kid you not: if you were to nose this blind, you might actually confuse this with a lovely sherried Speysider like Aberlour or GlenDronach. Wonderfully sweet notes of overripe banana, milk chocolate with hazelnuts, candied orange peel and dried apricots. A truckload of maple syrup and a chutney of mango! Yes, this is very good. And… yes! The Japanese touch is there. Incense, hint of oriental spices and walnuts. For a second I also get a medicinal note in the back. This is simply marvelous. I can sit here and nose this for another fifteen minutes.
The body is light, but the malt does get some weight from a lot of spices. Camphor, cloves, oriental spice mix (hence the title of my notes), hint of cinnamon and some tobacco leaves. The medicinal note returns and is joined by some bright citrus notes. Bergamot and yuzu. This works like a charm. Some mint, some cough syrup, some honey. There is a lot going on. Call it complex.
In the mildly drying finish I get an uppercut of charred wood, almost caramelized, while the spices linger forever.
What a taste bomb. Very impressive Japanese malt. Thx, Manny.