What You Need To Know:
- Mars (Hombo Shuzo) has announced the release of a new Single Malt Tsunuki 2022 Edition, which has been scheduled to be released on January 18th 2022, with a total outturn of 35,800 bottles – certainly a big outturn, which means pretty easy to pick one up!
- The bottling weighs in at 50% ABV and was matured in a Bourbon barrel, having been distilled between 2017 and 2018, which would make it around 3-4 years old. It’ll retail for 8,580 JPY (or 55.70 GBP / 75 USD).
- Said to be of “rich sweetness and fresh fruitiness”, sounds good already. Also it falls within the JSLMA labelling requirements to be called Japanese whisky which is always good.
- Unlike Hombo Shuzo’s other distillery, the Shinshu distillery in Nagano, which is cooler and produces a cleaner and lighter spirits, the Tsunuki distillery is located in Kagoshima, where it is warmer and more humid, producing a more heavy-bodied whisky.
- Cop the Drop or Not: Cop
Ah it’s that time of the year where we get ready to bid farewell to the year we’ve had and welcome the year to follow – December. As that famous quip goes – “New Year, New Me, New Tsunuki”; haven’t heard of that one?
Mars (Hombo Shuzo) has announced the release of a new Single Malt Tsunuki 2022 Edition, which has been scheduled to be released on January 18th 2022, with a total outturn of 35,800 bottles – certainly a big outturn, which means if you’re in the mood for some of this new Tsunuki, you’ll probably have an easy time finding one.
Unfortunately this blurry photo is all we've got so far, but I'll keep you posted. (Image Source: Hombo JP)
The bottling weighs in at 50% ABV and was matured in a Bourbon barrel, having been distilled between 2017 and 2018, which would make it around 3-4 years old. It’ll retail for 8,580 JPY (or 55.70 GBP / 75 USD).
Thus far it seems like the bottle will be made available through a lottery but that’s yet to be confirmed so do keep a look out in a week or so’s time!
"Single malt Tsunuki" is made at the Mars Tsunuki Distillery located in the green mountains southwest of the Satsuma Peninsula, blessed with a climate with a temperature difference peculiar to the basin and high-quality spring water of the Kuraokuyama mountain range. The "2022 Edition" is a single malt whiskey released in 2022 that is mainly vatted with malt raw liquor aged in a bourbon barrel.
Please enjoy the harmonious taste of rich sweetness and fresh fruitiness."
It should also be noted that this bottle meets the requirements of the new JSLMA requirements for Japanese whisky labelling.
The 2022 release will mark the third from the distillery so far, with the previous two being "The First" and "Peated".
The 2022 Edition is the third release under the “Single Malt Tsunuki” line up, following the previous “Tsunuki The First” and “Tsunuki Peated”.
Just to give the Tsunuki releases some context, Hombo Shuzo which produces the Mars brand of whiskies, is the second actively operating distillery under Mars. As with many Japanese conglomerates, Hombo Shuzo’s business activities are fairly vast and stretch out well beyond whiskymaking. Throughout its history, it has operated various distilleries at various junctures, but up until the Tsunuki Distillery, based in Kagoshima Prefecture, was established in 2016, Mars had for the most part relied solely on its Shinshu Distillery, which is based in Nagano.
The colder Nagano setting for the Shinshu distillery produces a cleaner and lighter-bodied spirit. (Image Source: TripAdvisor)
As with other Japanese distilleries, Hombo Shuzo recognized the growing demand for Japanese whiskies and as such expanded its production capabilities to accommodate it. A second distillery means not only greater output, but also the chance to produce a different style of whisky. The Shinshu distillery in Nagano and the Tsunuki distillery in Kagoshima enjoy vastly different climates – the former being much colder (in the alps), while the latter is much warmer. This partially accounts for Shinshu’s whiskies being cleaner and lighter, while Tsunuki’s is more viscous and heavier-bodied.
The warmer and more humid Tsunuki distillery in Kagoshima produces a more velvety, viscous heavier-bodied malt whisky. (Image Source: Hombo JP)
Aside from that, the Tsunuki distillery’s location is also of some significance to the company given that it is also the birthplace of Hombo Shuzo, where it has been for the last century.
Having tried the first two Tsunuki bottlings, I must say I’ve really enjoyed them – their more hefty weight as well as the fruitiness, they sometimes remind me of the syrup you’d find in tinned or canned apricots. It is also pretty interesting to contrast them to the bottlings that come out of Shinshu.
Mars seems intent on mixing and matching their multiple distilleries and warehouses to produce a wider spectrum of styles, which will be interesting for fans. The 2016 Yakushima Aging bottling, which is still available around the web, is a good example, and well worth trying. (Image Source: Hombo JP)
I also really appreciate that these bottlings are fairly widely available – no tussles and incessant clicking of the “refresh” button on your web browser, and also that it is becoming evident that Hombo Shuzo is intent on playing around with these distilleries to reflect various unique attributes of having distilleries in various locations, with differing styles, mixing and matching them. The Mars Yakushima Aging Cellar bottling in 2016 was a good example of that, with the whisky having been distilled at Tsunuki Distillery, while being aged for the most part in Yakushima, a more humid and warmer island.
This gives us something accessible to play around with and keep a look out for, which is always good in my books!
Cop the Drop or Not: Cop
If you liked reading about Tsunuki’s latest 2022 release, you’ll probably like these too:
- Ichiro’s Malt and Mars Swaps Whiskies, Now Jointly Releases Blended Malt Bottlings
- Mars Komagatake Single Malt, 'The Revival 2011’, Shinshu Mars Distillery, 58%, OB, 3 Years Old, 2011, bottle 3381 (of 6000 bottles)
- Mellow Land, Mellow Whisky – Kanosuke Distillery