Mars Iwai 45 Whisky

Mars Iwai 45 Whisky

(0.75l, 45%)


7.4/10
Price:
$32.99
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As close to a fruit-forward cocktail Bourbon as you can find… in Japan.

The Hombo family has been creating Wines and Spirits in Japan for more than 100 years. They added Whisky to their products in 1949. In 1984 they wanted to move the distilling operation to a cooler climate, so they closed their distillery in Kagoshima and built a new one high in the mountains of Nagano at an altitude of more than 2600 feet — the Mars Shinshu Distillery. But a few mishaps caused them to cease production in 1992. It opened again in 2011, and new stills were acquired in 2014. But their warehouse still contain hundreds of casks stretching back thirty years. Now at full production strength, this small distillery produces a range of sweet and peated Whiskies.

These days we are used to solid Single and Blended Malt Spirits coming from Japan. But the Mars Shinshu Distillery came out with their Blue Label Whiskey a few years back which is an attempt at what they call "American style" Whiskey — which means Bourbon in any language. Mars Iwai 45 is a higher proof — 45% ABV — version of that same Spirit designed for making cocktails. The mash bill is decidedly high corn (75%) and relatively high malted barley (25%). And it’s aged in ex-Bourbon casks, so the flavor profile is decidedly American, but the uniqueness of the environment and distilling techniques in Japan yield a "stewed fruit" flavor profile.
  • Category
  • Style
    Japanese Whisky
  • Region
    Nagano
  • Country
    Japan
  • Alcohol
    45%
  • Distillery
    Mars Shinshu Distillery

Flavor Spiral™

About The Flavor Spiral

Close
sweet
pear
toffee
caramel
milk chocolate
stewed fruit
milk
butterscotch
strawberry
What does Mars Iwai 45 Whisky taste like?

The Flavor Spiral™ shows the most common flavors that you'll taste in Mars Iwai 45 Whisky and gives you a chance to have a taste of it before actually tasting it.

We invented Flavor Spiral™ here at Flaviar to get all your senses involved in tasting drinks and, frankly, because we think that classic tasting notes are boring.
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Japan is the second biggest producer of Single Malt Whisky in the world.

Tasting Notes

Appearance / Color
Medium Amber

Nose / Aroma / Smell
The nose has notes of vanilla and butterscotch with stewed apple and strawberry tones.

Flavor / Taste / Palate
The flavor profile leans pleasantly sweet with ripe d’anjou pears, milk chocolate, quince, and toffee.

Finish
The finish last long enough with a lingering sweetness.
Ratings & Reviews
Dan
Dan,
Just ok
 
John
John,
Average flavor and slight burn, not my favorite but not bad either. Don’t know if I would purchase again
 
Evan
Evan,
Good 90 proof that can be had neat. Surprisingly light on the nose, body like a single malt and a warm finish. Very smooth.
 
Val
Val,
I absolutely love this whiskey
 
Chelsey
Chelsey,
Definitely can taste the sweetness. Really smooth.
 
Joshua
Joshua,
Easy sipper. Becoming a go to in my rotation
 
Ben
Ben,
Creamy, chocolate
 
Nathan
Nathan,
Advent #9. Smelled a lot of ethanol and didn’t get a lot of taste. I wanted to like it and really wanted the flavors in the spiral but did t get them readily enough. Guess it’s not for me.
 
Lawrence
Lawrence,
Phenols on the nose. Sweet pears on the tongue. Lingers on the lips
 
Ryan
Ryan,
Sweet and fruity. Really nice! A bottle I can share with the hubs.
 
Jarred
Jarred,
Not my taste
 
Nicholas
Nicholas,
Pretty run of the mill. A little bit of everything but not in a complex way
 
Justin
Justin,
Lots there!
 
Augustine
Augustine,
Hint of toffee, spicy & sweetness for a moderately price drink. Aftertaste is a bit flat but good overall value for $30-$35 range.
 
Kevin
Kevin,
Nice whiskey, i didn’t find it as sweet,but tasty
 
Tommy
Tommy,
Definitely taste the chocolate and sweet. Right in my taste wheel.
 
Stephen
Stephen,
Mildly sweet. Much sweeter nose than taste. Decent drink, nothing super special. Would definitely drink again, just not something I would look for.
 
Levi
Levi,
Great start, strong finish. Just the right amount of sweet.
 
Curtis
Curtis,
Sweet but good
 
David
David,
Really good flavor and great to sip
 
Jason
Jason,
Def sweet, lots of complexity for the price point. Solid!
 
Tracy
Tracy,
I mostly tasted the milk chocolate in this one, with a little caramel.
 
Maurice
Maurice,
Good, goes great with a pipe, fun, sweet and spicy.
 
Jason
Jason,
Very medicinal smell and taste for me.
 
Matthew
Matthew,
Drinkable but not exceptional. Too much ethanol to get much on the nose initially, but after swirling in the glass a few times I got butterscotch and unpeeled pear. On the tongue I get scalded milk and stewed fruit. Finish was a bit thin. Maybe a brief taste of chocolate, but it quickly fades to a non-descript sweetness.
 
Todd
Todd,
Decent Japanese whisky from the calendar. Preferred without water.
 
Christopher
Christopher,
Day 9. I have been indifferent to several japanese whiskeys, however I really enjoy this one and would buy a bottle. Smooth sweet and good price
 
Kris
Kris,
Smells like cake, buttercream frosting. Incredibly smooth and rich taste. Adding water brings out the stewed fruit.
 
James
James,
Distinctly Japanese to my palate. Lightly sweet w notes of caramel dissipating to chocolate. Not very complex, but enjoyable.
 
Paul
Paul,
Fruity, sweet, and spicy
 
Matthew
Matthew,
Very sweet, almost like a bourbon, which is very atypical of a Japanese whisky. Pretty good, but not incredible.
 
Jason
Jason,
Sweet, fruity with a hint of cinnamon. Nice and smooth with a clean finish. Left me wanting a bit more depth, however.
 
Christine
Christine,
Would love to taste this in a cocktail made with Fever Tree Smoky Ginger Ale
 
Louise
Louise,
It’s a little too sweet for my taste.
 
Mike
Mike,
Delightfully sweet and cinnamon. Super smooth.
 
Vincent
Vincent,
Advent Day 9 - Sweet notes from nose to finish with hints of fruity tones. The sweetness was overpowering, but still a nice dram.
 
Aaron
Aaron,
Quite nice. When I'm not enjoying whisky, I enjoy cider, and this had lots of apple and apple-adjacent notes (pear, quince). The finish seemed a bit discordant.
 
Thomas
Thomas,
Reminds me of a young (but smoother) bourbon. Pleasant, but lacks the complexity and interest to be a sipper.
 
Ryan
Ryan,
I can see this mixed into a cocktail. Not a neat drinker—simply too much bite
 
James
James,
Light, fruity, clean taste—definitely taste the pear and butterscotch
 
Derek
Derek,
Nose was a light cream cake sparsely topped with fruit. That theme continued into the palate, where the moderate burn of the opening gave way to a smooth and sweet finish with subtle notes of milk chocolate. Surprisingly rich mouth feel, and not overly sweet as the description sounds. I really wanted to give it an 8, but the stronger flavors did seem to dissipate a little after the first couple of sips. Probably could use a longer aging, as others have noted.
 
Colin
Colin,
4 stars neat, 6 stars with a little water. This won’t come as a surprise to people who are good at this endeavor, but the taste profile is dramatically different after you add a little water. Straight out of the vial the alcohol overwhelms the nose and the palate. With a few drops of water, the sweet and the pear come through and is very enjoyable on this December evening.
 
Adam
Adam,
This has an interesting flavor profile, but could use more aging. Not my favorite of the 2020 Advent, for sure.
 
Kent
Kent,
Happened to buy a bottle before I received my Advent Calendar (#9). This sweet, fruity Whisky is delightful. Very happy to have a bottle.
 
Jesse
Jesse,
Definitely get a lot of sweet in the sip. Very much enjoyed this
 
Frank
Frank,
(Advent 2020, #9) Sweet carmel & chocolate in the nose. Tasting it, it's smooth with that sweetness and a touch of fruitiness. It's got a nice, long finish. This one was very enjoyable.
 
Andrew
Andrew,
Better than I expected. Definitely a fruit forward whiskey, and much smoother than I anticipated. Could use more time aging.
 
Daniel
Daniel,
Advent 2020 #9 - great building warmth. Hints of sweet with fruit and smooth all the way through.
 
Shengye
Shengye,
The taste is too heavy compared to the Suntory whiskeys.
 
Erin
Erin,
It was better than I imagined. Smooth finish, slight sweet flavor, and on the backend a little bit of a roasted note.
 
Chad
Chad,
This was average at best. Not a sipping whiskey by any means. My issue with whiskey has always been the lazy 5 or less years to age. Give it 12 like a good scotch! Mellow that stuff out! This is a good whiskey for a mixer, if you are looking for a sipping whiskey, try Penelope or move to scotch where they are not so harsh!
 
Oscar
Oscar,
Deliciously smooth, sweet finish with plenty of woodsy notes and a hint of spice...
 
Greg
Greg,
Smooth as silk with some fruit hints. Very nice. I spent 15 years in Japan and never had this but wish I had.
 
Shane
Shane,
Nice whiskey light on the pallet and smooth finish . Nothing really jumps at you except for a low price and how smooth it finishes. A touch of lime and shaken on the rocks perfect summer drink or anytime for that matter
 
Jacob
Jacob,
I've been really digging into Japanese Whiskey of late and this is quite good but different from the other Japanese Whiskeys that i've tried. Its a darker color and the flavor is definitely less floral/fruity - it has a pleasant flavor, burns a little at the beginning but smooths out as you get the vanilla and caramel notes. 7/10 but a pleasant surprise compared to other Japanese bottles.
 
J.
J.,
I wasn't sure what I was expecting from a Japanese whisky. Maybe I was thinking it would be an Irish copycat. Not so. This was a pleasant surprise. If you are looking for an entry into the Japanese products, try this. Now, I'm going for bigger game.
 
Sheena
Sheena,
Goes down a treat!
 
Josh
Josh,
My first bottle of Japanese whisky and it was nice. Not very complex or rich but pleasant and smooth. I would not buy again as much better whisky is available for the $45 range.
 
Seth
Seth,
Nice complexity, definitely getting the vanilla and caramel tastes. Bit sweeter than I’d normally go for and just a little thin. Good overall.
 
Marlis
Marlis,
I enjoyed the complexities of this whisky. It filled the mouth with a variety of unique tastes as well as being smooth. The finish lasts a nice amount of time.
 
Ken
Ken,
While reviewing Lexus' LFA super car, Jeremy Clarkson said that it was perfect and perhaps the most brilliant vehicle he'd ever driven. It was perfect. Every detail had been meticulously crafted. Mars 45 exists in the same vein. It's excellent. Why 7 out of 10 then? Well, excellent in this case is also somewhat boring. It's smooth and tasty but undistinguished. I'll drink it without remembering it. It's a great whiskey but, like the LFA, at the end of the day you have to accept that great doesn't mean exiting or memorable.
 
Jason
Jason,
Really enjoyable smooth whiskey. Good sweet fruit flavor. A little pear with some apple.
 
Ryan
Ryan,
Floral/caramely flavor. Farely thin with strong alcohol and bitter finish. Quite disappointed. Maybe ok for a mixer.
 
Zhe
Zhe,
It was okay, for the price it was great
 
Colin
Colin,
About what I expected for a Japanese whiskey at this price. It was a little weak, and not completely smooth, but it still had good, classic Japanese whiskey flavors at a much cheaper price than many Japanese whiskeys I can find. It doesn't have much of an aroma as others have pointed out, but for me aroma isn't a huge deal.
 
guest
guest,
Smooth, Farley bland though
 
JOHN
JOHN,
Everything they describe. Smooth with caramel notes. A must buy.
 
Bahram
Bahram,
Very disappointed. Had minimal if any aroma and was thin.
 
Don
Don,
I was honestly surprised by this one. Great bargain for a Japanese Whiskey.
 
Steve
Steve,
Disappointed actually; maybe I got a bad bottle, but it was weak, no aroma at all to it. I was surprised.
 
Corey
Corey,
citrusy, fairly smooth with great body to it
 
Steve
Steve,
Maybe I had a bad bottle? I was expecting more like what the other comments reflect. Instead, mine was "flat"; not really any kind of draw to my nose, Also, tasted "thin"--no body to it.
 
Matthew
Matthew,
The flavors are subtle, but present. Its a good whisky to sip and appreciate all the flavors in it.
 
Austin
Austin,
Smooth beginning with a spicy finish
 
Lindsay
Lindsay,
This is delicious! It burns at first but then gets sweeter the more you drink it
 
Jiawen
Jiawen,
Really smooth
 
Kolton
Kolton,
I'd buy this bottle again without hesitation.
 
Darren
Darren,
It’s just ok
 
Craig
Craig,
Smooth at first with a little pepper taste at the end.
 
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