Exploring new frontiers in Japanese whisky with two special bottles
Two groundbreaking Japanese blended malt whiskies were borne of a collaboration between two distilleries that are both driving forces for the worldwide popularity of Japanese whisky. They are "Mars Whisky Malt Duo Komagatake x Chichibu 2021" and "Ichiro's Malt Double Distilleries Chichibu x Komagatake 2021." Whisky Galore Editor Mamoru Tsuchiya asks Kazuto Hombo, president of Hombo Shuzo, who makes Mars Whisky, about the story behind their development.
Header image: Hombo Shuzo Co. Ltd.. Established in Kagoshima in 1872. In addition to the "Sakurajima" brand of honkaku shochu, they make Western-style liquor like the "Mars" brand of whisky and wine. After acquiring a whisky distillation license in 1949, they built a distillery in Yamanashi prefecture's Isawa-cho. Today the company operates the Mars Shinshu Distillery (Miyada Village, Nagano Prefecture) and the Mars Tsunuki Distillery (Minamisatsuma City, Kagoshima Prefecture) and has an aging cellar on Yakushima.
Text: Yoshitaka Nishida
Translation: Whiskey Richard
This article originally appeared in Japanese in Whisky Galore Vol.27 / August 2021.
A groundbreaking experiment that began with an exchange of new pot
Tsuchiya: Two whiskies have been released as a joint project between Hombo Shuzo and Venture Whisky. What impetus made this possible? When were the stocks exchanged?
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Mamoru Tsuchiya is Japan’s foremost whisky critic. He is the Representative Director of the Japan Whisky Research Centre, and was named one of the “World’s Best Five Whisky Writers” by Highland Distillers in 1998. He served as the whisky historian for NHK’s Massan and he has published several books such as The Complete Guide to Single Malt Whisky, Taketsuru’s Life and Whisky, and The Literacy of Whisky. He is the editor of the bimonthly Whisky Galore, Japan’s only print whisky magazine.