Mars Whisky Komagatake Yakushima Aging Single Malt Japanese Whisky
53% ABV, cask strength, bottled in 2020
This single malt whisky exemplifies the Mars approach to experimentation, taking full advantage of Japan’s vast and varying terrain by distilling in Nagano, 2,625 feet above sea level, then transporting the whisky south for aging in Yakushima, an island 60 km off the Kagoshima mainland. Distilled in 2015 and 2016, this non-chill filtered, lightly peated single malt has aged for just over 3–4 years in primarily ex-bourbon barrels and some sherry casks. Juicy citrus on the nose gives way to vanilla custard on the palate with hints of peat; fresh orange and lemon resurface on the bright finish.
The Hombo family, founder of Mars, began producing shochu in 1909, expanding their portfolio over the years to eventually include their most popular product, whisky. They obtained their whisky license in 1949 with the help of their advisor, Mr. Kiichiro Iwai, a key player in the international rise of Japanese whisky.
Currently, Mars has two distilleries and an additional aging site. Mars Shinshu, the main distillery, is tucked away at 2,625 ft in the Nagano Alps, making it Japan’s highest whiskey distillery. Nagano’s heavy snowfall and temperate climate provide an abundance of soft and delicate glacier water for use in this dynamic range of both blended and single malt expressions.