Mars (マルス) is the whisky brand of Hombo Shuzo Co Ltd (本坊酒造株式会社), under which two distilleries: Shinshu (信州蒸溜所), located at the foot of the Kiso Mountains in Nagano Prefecture (and the highest at 798m, becoming snow covered in winter) and Tsunuki (津貫蒸溜所), located close to the family home of the founder in Kagoshima Prefecture (and the southernmost in Japan main island, with hot, tropical like climate in the summer), are currently in operation. These two distilleries produce whiskies of contrasting styles due to differences in water sources, climate and aging conditions. After a couple of closures and restarts since the 1980s, Mars is today gaining reputation as a producer of quality whiskies staying true to traditional methods, and with roots dating back to the dawn of Japanese whisky making (the pot stills in Shinshu are based on a design by Mar's first master distiller, Kiichiro Iwai, who in turned followed the stills blueprint of Masataka Taketsuru, his one-time collaborator). We are excited about the future of this top Japanese whisky!
The third in Mars Komagatake's Nature of Shinshu series, which focuses on botanicals local to the distillery, is Shinanotanpopo, which means 'dandelion flower' in Japanese. Shinanotanpopo is made from a blend of different casks, including ex-bourbon, sherry and white oak – some of which were over 20 years old. This is a floral dram with additional notes of red fruits and soft spices.
Size: 70 cl
Fill level: Good
With box?: Yes