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Mars

Hombo Shuzo Co. was founded back in 1872 by Honbu Matsusa as a small producer of alcoholic beverages, primarily as a Japanese shochu maker. It wasn’t until 1949 that the company acquired a licence to produce whisky in Kagoshima Distillery, in the southeast corner of Kyushu. Hombo Shuzo stayed in the southernmost whisky distillery in Japan until 1984, when it moved its whisky-making operation to Shinshu Distillery*, situated gloriously between Japan’s soaring Southern Alps and the towering Central Alps in Miyata city in the Nagano prefecture.

Complete with a stunning view of the imperious Mt. Komagatake at just over 2,600 feet (798 meters) above sea level, not only is Shinshu Distillery one of the highest altitude whisky distilleries currently in production globally, but it's also the absolute highest in Japan. This location wasn’t chosen for its picturesque views however, but because Hombo Shuzo wanted its whisky to be affected by the more moderate levels of humidity, which would prolong maturation, and the high-quality water source.

While sluggish demand for whisky in this era led to a temporary halting of production in 1992, normal service was resumed in 2012, and since then Mars whisky has done very well for itself. The most notable product to come out of this distillery is Komagatake, a single malt whisky named after the most imposing of the many nearby mountains; and Mars Maltage Cosmo, which was introduced to the market in July 2015 as a homage to the distillery’s location, referring to the sky that can be seen at night when looking out from the aforementioned Mt. Komagatake.

*I’ve called it Shinshu Distillery, but the truth is you may know it by another name. The distillery is often called Shinshu, or Shinshu Mars, or just Mars, or Hombo Mars - it’s all a tad confusing. So, let’s clear things up. The official name of the distillery is Shinshu, hence why I called it that. However, it’s owned by Hombo Shuzo (sometimes titled as Hombo Brewing Co.) and the whisky produced is sold under the brand name Mars Whisky.

Mars Maltage Cosmo

70cl, 43%

Mars Maltage Cosmo is a blended malt featuring whisky from the little-known Japanese distillery Shinshu, as well as whiskies from undisclosed Scottish distilleries. An intriguing expression...  More info

Mars Maltage Cosmo
2
$66.79

Mars Komagatake 2014 (bottled 2017) (cask 1782)

70cl, 61.8%

From the little-known Shinshu distillery comes a single cask Japanese whisky bottled for La Maison du Whisky (following on from the 2012 vintage released by La Maison du Whisky in celebration of…  More info

Mars Komagatake 2014 (bottled 2017) (cask 1782)
$189.44

Mars Komagatake Kohiganzakura - Nature of Shinshu

70cl, 52%

The second bottling from the Nature of Shinshu series produced by the eponymous Japanese distillery. The Kohiganzakura honours the cherry blossom prevalent in Japan (and around the distillery itself,…  More info

Mars Komagatake Kohiganzakura - Nature of Shinshu
$139.26

Mars Komagatake Shinanotanpopo - Nature of Shinshu

70cl, 52%

The third release in the Nature of Shinshu range from Mars Shinshu is the Shinanotanpopo single malt Japanese whisky, which was made by combining a well-aged whisky from their warehouses with a much…  More info

Mars Komagatake Shinanotanpopo - Nature of Shinshu
$144.77

Mars Komagatake 30 Year Old 1986

70cl, 61%

A very rare bottling of 30 year old Japanese single malt from the little-known Shinshu distillery. This was distilled in 1986, a year after the parent company Hombo Shuzo opened up a distillery in…  More info

Mars Komagatake 30 Year Old 1986
$1,949.61
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Mars Shinshu 2013 (bottled 2016) (cask 1664) - Number One Drinks Company 10th Anniversary

70cl, 58.9%

Single cask Japanese single malt from the little-known Shinshu distillery. It distilled in 2013 (a short while after Shinshu reopened following a period of inactivity) and matured in a bourbon barrel…  More info

Mars Shinshu 2013 (bottled 2016) (cask 1664) - Number One Drinks Company 10th Anniversary
$333.11
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Mars Komagatake Tsunuki Aging

70cl, 59%

This single malt from Japan's Shinshu distillery was allowed to mature in the Tsunuki Aging Cellar for three years before being bottled at cask strength. Perhaps a hint of what's to come from the…  More info

Mars Komagatake Tsunuki Aging
1
$155.05
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Mars Komagatake 2012 (bottled 2016) (cask 1555) (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)

70cl, 58.8%

A single cask offering of Japanese whisky from the little-known Shinshu distillery, bottled as part of La Maison du Whisky's 60th Anniversary celebrations. It was distilled in 2012 (a year after the…  More info

Mars Komagatake 2012 (bottled 2016) (cask 1555) (La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary)
$184.12
Sold out

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