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Ghost Series #17 Mars Whisky Tsunuki 4 Year Old Non-Peated Single Malt First Fill Bourbon Barrel

What you need to know:

  • #17 in Stefan van Eycken's Ghost Series is a non-peated 4 Year Old Tsunuki Single Malt from Mars Whisky.

  • It was distilled in 2017, matured in a Bourbon Cask #T431, and bottled in 2022. It is non-peated and distilled and aged at the Tsunuki Distillery, carrying a 61% ABV.

  • While this is not the first Ghost Series bottling to feature whisky from Mars Whisky (Ghost #11 was a Komagatake 2015 Non-Peated Tsunuki Aging), it is the first from Mars to be distilled at the new Tsunuki Distillery.

  • Tsunuki Distillery itself, is based in the warmer Kagoshima prefecture, and is Mars Whisky's second distillation site, next to their existing Shinshu Distillery up in the colder Nagano Alps.

  • The distillery has produced a handful of single malts that have picked up rave reviews for a heavier-bodied, creamier textured, fruitier-styled whisky.

  • The work featured on the label is titled "The Spirit of the Komachi Cherry Tree" or "Komachi-Zakura no Sei", which is taken from the kabuki play "Tsumoru Koi Yuki Seki no To", from legendary Japanese woodprint artist Yoshitoshi's famed "New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts" set of works.

  

#17 in Stefan van Eycken's Ghost Series - a non-peated Tsunuki single malt. (Image Source: Aloha Whisky)

 

It has certainly been a busy season for the Ghost Series, with the third release in the last couple of months - first a heavily peated Akashi, followed by the series' first Kanosuke single malt (finished in a Chardonnay cask what more!), and now another first for the series - a non-peated Tsunuki from Mars Whisky.

While this is not the first Ghost Series bottling to feature whisky from Mars Whisky (Ghost #11 was a Komagatake 2015 Non-Peated Tsunuki Aging), it is the first from Mars to be distilled at the new Tsunuki Distillery.

  

Komagatake 2015 Single Cask 3 Year Old #5141 | Whisky Auctioneer

Ghost #11 Komagatake 2015 Non-Peated Tsunuki Aging. (Image Source: Whisky Auctioneer)

 

Tsunuki Distillery itself, like Kanosuke Distillery, is based in the warmer Kagoshima prefecture, and is Mars Whisky's second distillation site, next to their existing Shinshu Distillery up in the colder Nagano Alps.

Mars whisky, much like their Japanese whiskymaking counterparts, established a second distillery in a site with a much different climate to their existing facilities to enable the whiskymaker the ability to create a different style of whisky. This gives Mars a wider spectrum of whisky styles to play with when making blends, as well as simply offering fans a wider range of single malt expressions.

 

Tsunuki The First single malt | Japanese Whisky

Mars' second distillation site, the Tsunuki Distillery, in Kagoshima. (Image Source: Japanese Whisky)

 

Thus far, the Tsunuki has gotten off to a great start, racking up great reviews for its creamy texture, heavier body and fruitier notes.

From the label, we can see that it was distilled in 2017, matured in a Bourbon Cask #T431, and bottled in 2022. It is non-peated and distilled and aged at the Tsunuki Distillery, carrying a 61% ABV.

As per the series' namesake, it carries a work from the legendary ancient ukiyo-e master Yoshitoshi, who was the last great woodblock print artist of Japan, whose series "New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts" is the inspiration for the Ghost series. The specific work selected for the #17 Ghost bottling is titled "The Spirit of the Komachi Cherry Tree" or "Komachi-Zakura no Sei", which is taken from the kabuki play "Tsumoru Koi Yuki Seki no To".

  

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: Spirit of Cherry Tree - New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts  - Artelino - Ukiyo-e Search

The Spirit of the Komachi Cherry Tree, one of the most beloved works from Yoshitoshi's New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts. (Image Source: Ukiyo-e.org)

 

 

"The beguiling Spirit of the Komachi Cherry Tree, who has appeared to thwart the forces of evil in the kabuki play “Love Story at the Snow-Covered Barrier.” Her kimono is printed in a very subdued grey-purple, befitting of a spirit, and is decorated with cherry blossoms. Cherry petals fall all around her like snow."

 

Thus far the new bottling has not been formally announced, so stay tuned for more updates!

   

Background

 

 The Ghost Series bottlings have become incredibly sought after. (Image Source: Bonhams)

   

The Ghost Series started out as a project by Stefan van Eycken to bottle some interesting and rare Japanese whiskies for fans of his blog Nonjatta (which anyone interested in Japanese whiskies should know of by now, or if you haven't should definitely check out). Along the way, it has seen some incredible bottlings that have included Karuizawa's mythical "rouge casks" from the one single year that parent, Mercian, aged Karuizawa's whiskies in wine casks, to peated Hanyu and Chichibu whiskies, and as of late has focused more on Eigashima Distillery's Akashi whiskies, featuring very unusual ex-Sake American Oak casks and Cabernet Franc casks.

   

Yoshitoshi's last master works titled "New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts". (Image Source: The Value)

   

The series is also distinctive in its labelling, with each label featuring a print of Japan's last woodblock print Master, Yoshitoshi's, final series of works titled "New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts". It is said that the woodblock print selected for that specific bottle's label draws some resonance with the whisky that is being bottled.

  

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot

 



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