Nestled in the Japanese Alps at just over 2,600 feet, Mars Shinshu is Japan's highest whisky distillery. The Hombo family have been distilling shochu for more than a century and added whisky to their repertoire in 1949. Back then, the distillery was located in Kagoshima Prefecture on the southernmost island of Kyushu. In 1984, the Hombo clan moved the distillery to the idyllic alpine setting of Miyada village in southern Nagano Prefecture. They chose this site for its cool temperature, which slows maturation, and the plentiful, soft, granite-filtered snowmelt-fed aquifers.
Kiichiro Iwai, the namesake for this Mars Whisky, was a silent pioneer of Japanese whisky. This malt-driven whisky is inspired by great whiskies of America. Made from lightly-peated barley, corn, and rye, Iwai Tradition is a blend of 3 to 20-year old whiskies aged in ex Bourbon barrel, new American and French oak barrels, and Sherry casks. This diversity creates a harmonious spirit packed with ripe flavors of ripe cherry, honey, toffee, and ginger spice. (from the distiller)