Mars Whisky The Revival 2011 Komagatake, 3 YO, 58 %
Hombo Shuzo Ltd is an old Japanese spirits company, established in 1872. They were traditionally a “shochu” producer, but in 1985 they built the Shinshu Mars Distillery in Miyata village, to start producing whisky and brandy. The whisky was sold under the brand Mars Whisky. Unfortunately demand was not big enough, and they stopped whisky production back in 1992.
Then, in February of 2011, whisky production was restarted at the Shinshu Mars Distillery. On August 6 2014, Hombo Shuzo finally launched the first whisky produced since the restart, the Mars Whisky The Revival 2011 Komagatake. This is a three year old whisky, exclusively matured in bourbon casks. The Revival is slightly peated, at 8 ppm phenol level. Only 6000 bottles are released of the Mars Whisky The Revival 2011 Komagatake.
The retail price appears to be in the region of JPY 10800, which I understand is considered pricey in Japan for such a young whisky. Coming from Norway, we do not really react to this price level, but then of course the product has to be good.
For more information on the Mars Distillery see here. The whisky was tasted at the fine establishment Bar Moonshine, in Tokyo. More on that bar, and our Japan adventures, soon.
Nose (22/25): Vanilla, mild caramel, some oak and spices. It feels a little youngish, but not enough to subtract anything. It is a pleasant nose, quite fresh. With water it was sweeter, and less spicy. I found fruits now, as well as licorice and marshmallows. A whiff of smoke can be detected, if you look really hard.
Taste (21/25): Spicy (black and white pepper), with rich and sweet caramel. The mouthfeel is a bit chewy. With water it becomes more fruity, just as on the nose. Heavier on the sweetness now, with added licorice.
Finish (19/25): Relatively short, as expected. Spicy and sweet. The smoke makes a brief appearance towards the end, but I would not really characterize this as a peated whisky.
Balance (21/25): All in all a very fine, young comeback for Mars Whisky! The whisky is still young, and will certainly improve with age, but it is a good indication of what is to come. It is fresh and actually quite mature for it’s age. Water improved the nose somewhat, but not so on the palate for me – the sweetness became almost too heavy.