This release from the Mars Shinshu distillery in Nagano prefecture celebrates the 2020 expansion of operations. Opened in 1985, Mars has been producing some of Japan's most unique and varied malts and is well known for their exceptional blending skills. It's located 800m above sea level in the moutains and the exceptionally varied seasons make for a very unique matuation process. The malt components of this whisky were aged in bourbon and American white oak casks. The name of this release, Asagi Madara. refers to the butterfly on the label that is often spotted in Miyada Village where the distillery is located. This particular bottling is a blend of malt & grain whiskies aged for at least 8 years and is bottled at 47% Abv.
Nose: Delicate flowers and gentle, chewy toffee. Light and airy with some soft honey spices that lead into a sweet and confectionary, almost lolly shop smell. Some rich biscuit and butter notes from the malt that are reminiscent of freshly iced cookies.
Palate: Savoury and sweet with some gentle white pepper. Freshly seasoned beef with a rye spice midpalate. The sweetness is mellow thanks to the bourbon cask influence but not overtly sweet. The spices strip back the confectionary notes from the nose and become gentle and warming.
Finish: From spicy on the palate to gentle and oily. Leads slowly towards some lemon and citrus notes only to come back shortly after for a final kick of that white pepper/rye spice flavour.