Nagano, Japan


The Hombo family, owners of Mars Distillery, frst took out a license to distill whisky in 1949, although it was not until 1960 that they started making whisky – and not in Kagoshima, but at a purpose built plant in Yamanashi. This was run by Kiichiro Iwai, who had been Masataka Taketsuru’s immediate superior at the turn of the century and who was responsible for sending Taketsuru to Scotland in 1919 to learn how whisky was produced. Both men had worked for a frm, Settsu Shozu, which had intended to build Japan’s frst whisky distillery. Sadly, when Taketsuru returned from Scotland, the frm was in administration.

He went to join Yamazaki, founded Nikka, and the rest is history. Iwai was a whisky man too, and when the plant in Yamanashi started, Iwai used Taketsuru’s original report to make his whisky. It was unsurprisingly, heavy and smoky. Iwai was also responsible for the design of their pot stills and is considered a pioneer in the history and development of pot still whisky in Japan. He is one of only four Japanese, listed in the Top 100 most infuential people in the history of whisky in the world. Yamanashi ran for nine years and when production there switched over to wine, distilling moved to Kagoshima, located in the south of Kyushu, where two tiny pot stills also made heavy smoky whisky.

In 1984, production was switched to the current Mars site in Nagano high in the Japanese Alps, which had been chosen because of its altitude (to encourage slow maturation) and the availability of soft granite fltered water.

A style change was also brought in. This whisky was to be light. The few casks from this period show it to be Japan’s sweetest whisky, flled with soft honeyed fruits. Unfortunately timing was bad, and this was the start of Japans great whisky crash, and Mars closed in 1992. With the market opening up again, Mars opened again in 2011.



NV Iwai Whisky*750ml 40% alc/vol 750ml
NV Iwai ‘Tradition’ Whisky 750ml 40% a/v 750ml
NV Iwai ‘Tradition’ Wine Cask Finish 40% a/v 750ml
NV The Lucky Cat ‘Mint’ 700ml 43% alc/vol 700ml
NV Maltage ‘Cosmo’ Blended Malt Whisky 750ml
NV Komagatake ‘Shinanotanpopo’ Single Malt Whisky 750ml
NV Komagatake ‘Tsuniki Ageing’ Single Cask Whisky 750ml
NV Komagatake ‘Double Cellars’ Single Malt Whisky 750ml
NV Komagatake ‘Yakushima Ageing’ Single Malt Whisky 750ml
NV Komagatake 27YO Single Malt Whisky 700ml 700ml
NV Wa Bi Gin 700ml 45% alc/vol 700ml

*on-premise only

All Products Gift Boxed (except Iwai Wine Cask)
Maltage ‘Cosmo’ Blended Malt 700ml – 43% alc/vol
Komagatake ‘Shinanotanpopo’ 700ml – 52% alc/vol
Komagatake ‘Tsuniki Ageing’ 700ml – 59% alc/vol
Komagatake ‘Double Cellars’ 700ml 46% alc/vol
Komagatake ‘Yakushima Ageing’ 700ml 59% alc/voL
Komagatake 27YO Single Malt 700ml 46% alc/vol