2020 Shinshu Mars Distillery Komagatake Tsunuki Aging Cask Strength Single Malt Japanese Whisky (700ml)
Last year's Tsunuki aged Komagtake was a Category Winner at the World Whisky Awards. The 2020 release weighs in at a slightly lower ABV, but follows the same process. It was distilled at Shinshu but aged in Kagoshima's tropical climate in barrels held at the Tsunuki distillery. This is the fourth release in the series. Distilled through 2016/2017, matured in both bourbon and sherry barrels and bottled in 2020 at natural strength, it's described as citrusy with candied lemon peel and a hint of peat on the nose, smooth and sweet on the palate with a luscious, slightly smoky finish. Around 5000 bottles are on offer world wide.
Worth following, Tsunuki is a new Mars distillery, located on a historic site in Kagoshima. With this second operation, Shinshu's owner, Hombo Shuzo will continue to expand his portfolio which presently includes the Komagatake single malts, Iwai Tradition, Twin Alps, Tsunagu blended whiskies and the Cosmo labels. Opened in 2016, the heart of the Tsunuki facility is located just next to the family home of the descendant of the founder of the brand (now transformed into a tasting bar and shop). This edition was, as the name suggests, aged in Kagoshima's tropical climate in barrels held at the Tsunuki distillery. According to one report, three types of cask are used - ex-Bourbon American Oak, ex-Sherry European Oak and casks which contained Umeshu, a Japanese liqueur of Ume the Japanese plum.