...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Shinshu Mars 12 year old 1986 single cask 452

My daughter's preschool class is learning how to share, which is GREAT now that they've given me their stomach virus. Thanks, kids!

Mathilda's ability to pull off the boot-and-rally is truly admirable. I, on the other hand, have seemed to misplace the past 24 hours, and a considerable amount of bodily fluid along with it.

Luckily, all the tasting notes below were typed two days ago (or was it three?). And there's a possibility that the Mars sequence will now last three weeks rather than two. Yay!

Speaking of which, the first Shinshu Mars whisky from my Mission: Mars series is the earliest of the bunch, a single sherry cask from 1986. It was diluted to 43%abv. Will that be an issue?

photo source

Brand: Mars
Distillery: Shinshu
Ownership: Hombo Shuzo Co. Ltd.
Region: Japan, Nagano Prefecture
Age: 12 years (December 12, 1986 - ???)
Maturation: ex-sherry cask
Cask #: 452
Bottled for: Espoa
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(from a purchased sample)

Its color is light gold.

The nose opens gradually. It starts off with pipe tobacco and hot cocoa. Then there's plums, jelly rings and dried apricots. Then damp forest and lime zest. With 30+ minutes in the glass it gets more candied: grape gumdrops, orange slices and candied ginger. An ocean/briny note lingers throughout.

The palate starts off salty and savory, but not meaty. More like umeboshi. It's also a bit earthy. Some bitter chocolate and dried berries. Hints of oak spice, mint leaves and cabernet sauvignon. The mouthfeel is enormous for its ABV.

The finish has a good length to it. Tart and tangy citrus. Sea salt and mint leaves. Fresh tobacco. Blackberry syrup. Oolong tea.

I'm not sure what's more remarkable, the nose's depth or the palate's expanse. Would anyone would guess this was a 43%abv 12 year old if it were tasted blindly? My expectations were foolishly set low for this magical wee thing. The rest of these whiskies have their work cut out for 'em.

Availability - Secondary market, if you're lucky
Pricing - sold for £195 at auction last year, though whiskybase estimates a higher value
Rating - 90