About the producer:
Mars Tsunuki Distillery was launched in 2016 in a small area enclosed by mountains. Here, the company first began producing spirits in 1909, mainly shochu, and production has continued for over a hundred years. Mt. Kurata spring water flows here, making up the body of our spirits, and the warm regional climate deepens the flavors of their whiskies.
It was not until 1949 that whiskey production began, and in 1960 it was decided to switch to a higher gear. The man to manage the boilers was Kiichiro Iwai. Iwai was no novice in the world of whisky, and 40 years earlier he had employed the famous Masataka Taketsuru, now known as "the father of Japanese whisky". In addition to his experience, he also had a small and inconspicuous notebook, which would prove to be extremely important. In it was hidden a treasure of knowledge - it was Masataka Taketsuru's notebook, which he had prepared during his study trip in Scotland, and when he returned home presented to Iwai as part of his report. Kiichiro Iwai used the drawings in the book to design Mars' new boilers.
Throughout the next period, production went up and down, and Mars was characterized by the same turbulence as the rest of the Japanese whiskey industry. From 1992 and 19 years on, there was no distillation. Slowly the demand for whiskey increased again and Mars realized that the stock they had been drawing on for the last 2 decades was running out. In 2011, the boilers were fired up again. With a "clean slate" after almost 20 years of inactivity, they felt free to experiment and find exactly the recipes that would define the new Mars.
Today they use 4 different types of malt, all imported from the UK: unsmoked, lightly smoked (3.5 ppm), heavily smoked (20 ppm) and super heavily smoked (50 ppm). It is fermented with 3 different types of yeast, and a number of different casks are used for cask aging, mostly bourbon from Jack Daniel's, but also Madeira and port casks. In addition to experimenting with different types of casks, they are also investigating the effect of different environments on storage. For example, part of the crude spirit is sent to Yakushima, which is the place with the most rainfall in the whole world. The locals say that it "rains 400 days a year".