Christmas Countdown Day 5 – Mars Tsunuki The First

With only five more sleeps ’til the big day, we’re back with our Christmas Countdown and another of our favourite new Japanese Whisky releases of 2020. Yesterday we took a look at the excellent Essence of Suntory Volume 4, if you missed that you can catch up by clicking here. 

Today, it’s all about an inspired expression from Mars’ newest distillery, Tsunuki, built in 2016. Until this year, they were yet to release a single malt whisky. You may however have seen the name appear on some expressions distilled at Hombo Mars’ other distillery, Shinshu. That’s because the Tsunuki cellars have been used to age Shinshu whisky on a number of occasions, but in late April of this year, we finally got a first Tsunuki single malt to explore, and it was just as good as we’d hoped.

Of course, we’re talking about the Tsunuki The First. 

Mars Tsunuki The First


Distilled in 2016/17, this superb expression was laid to mature in bourbon barrels. The distillery workers would have tasted the whisky along every step of the way before deciding that they had it just right for bottling in 2020. 

It comes in at 59% ABV and brings citrus fruits, vanilla and fresh bread on the nose, followed by more sweet fruits, grassy notes and gentle spices on the palate. The finish is of medium length with a soft sweetness and cracked black pepper that will warm your belly up until your next sip

It’s a truly memorable and exciting new whisky that highlights the expertise and knowledge of those working at Mars. As a first release, the Tsunuki The First kicks things off for the distillery in still and has Japanese whisky lovers everywhere very excited to see what the future holds for this young distillery. It’s apparent from the first sip that those making the whisky know exactly what they are doing, and that bodes well for them as they try to carve out their portion of the Japanese whisky market.

Will they manage to become as successful as Shinshu or some of the other big players in the industry? We’ll just have to wait and see, but more distilleries producing good quality Japanese expressions is surely a fantastic thing for both the industry and whisky-lovers everywhere. 

The Tsunuki The First combined a well-balanced tasting experience with a taste of the future of Japanese Whisky and for those reasons it’s a dekanta favourite new release for 2020!

Be sure to come back tomorrow when we’ll be exploring another exceptional Japanese whisky.

For the next 24 hours you can get your hands on the Mars Tsunuki The First at a discounted price, saving over 10%! Simply click here to Buy Now. 

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