Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of trying the two ‘new old’ Mars bottlings (check our original report here) in avant-premiere in the company of the Shinanoya people who made this double release happen and Takehira-san, the current master distiller at Mars. We had high expectations and the whiskies did not disappoint – quite the contrary –, the American white oak bottling being a particularly fine exponent of young single cask Mars.
|© Stefan Van Eycken|
The people involved in this ‘petit old bottle’ release also commented on the fact that the whisky’s 10 years in the bottle had had a subtle effect on its character. The American white oak bottling had developed a more fruity character, whereas in the case of the ex-sherry release, a decade of refinement in the bottle had eliminated some of the slight sulphury notes and softened the overall flavour profile. The original idea was for Shinanoya to choose one or the other, but they felt this duo presented a unique opportunity to compare the effects of different wood on whisky of the same age from the same distillery.
|Kameido Ume Garden / Flowering Plum Tree|
|Thunderstorm at Ohashi / Bridge in the Rain|
One more thing: if you’re thinking of getting both bottles, you actually have the chance to experience a third. Owner/bartender Toru Suzuki of The Mash Tun in Tokyo tried his – experienced! – hand at blending both and found that a ratio of 2 parts American white oak to 1 part Spanish oak produces a lovely amalgam highlighting the best of both worlds.
|The master distiller at work © Yasuko Ikeda for Nonjatta|
Read more about Hombo Mars Distillery here.