Seijo Ishii Mars Single Cask
Post by Nonjatta contributor Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub
Many enthusiasts of Japanese whisky will know that Mars (Shinshu) distillery started distilling again in the early spring of last year after a hiatus of almost 20 years (they stopped distilling in 1992).
Mars occasionally puts out some interesting single cask releases from the days before they stopped. These are available through the distillery's online shop and from the better liquor shops in Japan. They very rarely bottle single casks exclusively for retailers--I know of only two cases--but a third exclusive bottling has been available for a few months now.
It was bottled for the posh supermarket chain Seijo Ishii from an American white oak ex-sherry butt (cask #902), distilled in February 1990 and bottled in November 2011 at a whopping strength of 64.7% abv. Bottles are individually numbered - the out turn was 425 or 430 bottles (depending on whether you believe the numbering on the bottles or the information on the promotional materials displayed at the supermarket).
As usual, they're a bit on the expensive side (16,900 yen or about 200 dollars for a 21-year-old). Mars single casks can be a bit hit-or-miss, and I haven't been able to sample it yet, so the jury is still out as to whether the liquid justifies the steep price tag.