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Hombo Shuzo Group Ltd. , the owner of Shinshu distillery and another one, Tsunuki, whose launch has been announced for November 2016. The company obtained licence to distil as early as 1949, but for the first decade they only purchased spirits and blended them. The stormy history of Hombo Shuzo included several attempts – until recently all failed – to successfully add whisky production to their beers, umeshu and a few other tipples. In 1985the Shinshu distillery was launched in Nagano Prefecture, but it had to be closed down in 1992. Only in 2011, on the recent wave of whisky popularity, the distillery was reopened. In 2014 all its stills were replaced with new ones. They are used to produce four types of spirit – unpeated and three levels of peated (3.5, 12 and 50 ppm).
Mars Maltage whisky, released as a part of the Cosmo series, is a standard blended whisky, composed of spirits from Shinshu distillery and some Scotch whiskies whose producers have not been disclosed.
Nose: Sweet, with some vanilla and red fruit, mainly cherries and raspberries.
Palate: Fresh barley, sweet citrus fruit, chocolate, oakiness.
Finish: Cereal and biscuity with some plums and grapes.