Another bottle out of Mars Whisky's Tsunuki Distillery is Single Malt Tsunuki Peated. This is the second official release out of Tsunuki, and a bigger one than The First, at 15,000 bottles.Tsunuki is of course Mars Whisky's relatively new distillery that came online in 2016. As we discussed when looking at the previous Tsunuki bottle, the stated goal is for Tsunuki to be more bold, more powerful, and more impactful than Mars' Shinshu malts.
One intriguing thing I learned when down at Tsunuki is that they're making grain whisky for two months out of the year. That's gonna throw a wrench in my whole "if it's Mars and uses grain whisky, it isn't entirely Japanese whisky" theory. Not that it matters anymore because Mars is now being upfront about which of their whiskies are, and aren't JSLMA-compliant Japanese Whiskies.
Speaking of Tsunuki! I've just released the Tsunuki Distillery profile page, so definitely check it out if you want to get a good idea of what's going on down in Kagoshima.
Anyway, back to this bottle here. The company hasn't said exactly how peated it is. With 15,000 bottles it's obviously a vatting of several different casks, primarily Bourbon barrels. My guess is lower 20s ppm. All of it was distilled back in 2016 or 2017.
Also worth noting that while The First was 60% abv, Peated here is 50% abv. More water!
Let's dig in.
Review: Single Malt Tsunuki Peated
Nose: Initially there's a whiff of peat, but give it a couple minutes and you realize it's actually quite unpeaty for a peated whisky. Instead we get plenty of sweet Bourbon cask notes and fruitiness and honey. Think pears, apples, and maybe a plum or two.
Palate: On the tongue it's smooth as butter. The cask is dominating this one for now; the malt hasn't had a chance to shine through the sweet vanilla. Otherwise quite nicely balanced and I'm glad they didn't go smoke-bombing us.
Finish: Here's where we can feel more of that boldness that Tsunuki is supposed to become famous for. A twinge of bitter oak initially, but some nice smoke closes things out.
Price paid: Free! Thanks to Aloha Whisky for swapping that previous Tsunuki bottle for this one. Retail is 9,680 yen after tax though.
This release of Tsunuki Peated is a tad simplistic for now, but surely that will be changing over the years. All things considered, I do (slightly) prefer it over the Tsunuki Limited of Minami-satsuma City bottle.
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