At various international airports, I’ve spotted Iwai Traditional and its cousin Mars Maltage “Cosmo” a few times… And not to scoff at reasonably priced blends, it just never quite made it into the final “cut” to come into Mumbai, India.
Which is why it was a welcome appetizer at a recent Whisky Ladies “Contributor’s Choice” evening…
Mars Iwai Traditional Blended Whisky 40%
- Nose – Very sweet, banana, caramel, candied green apple, raisins, a bit dusty, soaked fruit. However rather than opening up to reveal more, as it aired took on an almost ‘flat’ quality, settling into a sweet rum or apple juice
- Palate – Clearly quite a bit of grain in the blend, pineapple rum cake, cardboard, no body at all, came across as a bit raw and young, a slight hint of charcoal peat
- Finish – Bit of a spice burn and that’s it
- Water – Not quite sure why but it was attempted. Just don’t. All it does is bring out sharp alcohol and adds nothing to the equation
Now our Whisky Ladies are accustomed to higher strength drams, so it is no surprise several remarked that this seemed to be quite “watered down.”
We expected a pleasant appetizer whisky like Akashi Red Blended Whisky which we had dubbed the “apple cider” whisky. Yet somehow that had no pretence of being more and hence was somehow more enjoyable in its uncomplicated way.
What do we know about this whisky? Not much… except that it is apparently a blend of sherry, bourbon and wine casks with a bit of peat. Alas, I could not track down official tasting notes in English…
The Mars Hombo company is not new to the spirits industry and added whisky to their repertoire in 1949. In 1985, they opened their Shinshu distillery – producing whisky under the Mars label. This distillery at Shinshu, Kuyshu Island, Nagano Prefecture is thought to be the highest in Japan (even more so than Hakushu). More recently, the company is opening a new distillery in Kagoshima, Tsunuki.
What else did we sample in our “Contributor’s Choice” evening?
Interested in reading about more Japanese whiskies tasting notes? Check out the Asia Whiskies page.
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