[Review] Mars Malt Le Papillon Monk Swallowtail

The Mars Malt Le Papillon series expresses the beauty of Japan’s seasonal climate and natural environment, which forms the maturing environment for whisky, with a motif of butterflies that live in Japan.
This is the eleventh in the series, and the first in the series to use Malt raw materials distilled at Mars Tsunuki Distillery for the first time in the series. It is a double cask single malt whisky made from the raw materials of two different bourbon barrels.
All the whiskys in the series are bottled in single cask or double cask, so the limited number of bottles is very small each time, making it a very rare whisky.

1. Manufacturer

Honbo Shuzo Co.

Established 1872
Head office location 3-27, Minamisakae, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture, 891-0122, Japan
Owned distilleriesMars Shinshu distillery, Mars Tsunuki distillery

2. Distillery

Mars Tsunuki Distillery

Location 6594 Tsunuki, Kaseda, Minamisatsuma City, Kagoshima Prefecture, 899-3611, Japan
Start of operation 2016

Tsunuki in Kaseda, Minami Satsuma City. Here in the southwest of the Satsuma Peninsula, nestled in the mountains full of greenery. Mars Tsunuki Distillery, the southernmost whisky distillery on the mainland This is the first time I have ever tasted this whisky.

Tsunuki, located in the southwestern part of the Satsuma Peninsula, is in a long basin along the Kayeda River, a tributary of the Manose River. Surrounded by the mountains of Mt. Kurata (475m) to the east and Mt. Nagaya (513m) to the west, the topography of the area is basin-like, so the summers are hot and the winters are cold, which is extremely harsh in southern Satsuma.
The area has a natural environment that is a “blessing” with good water resources (Mt. Kuratayama spring water), and the cultivation of oranges, known as “Tsunuki oranges,” is flourishing by making effective use of the mountain slopes.
Tsunuki, blessed with a mild climate and good water resources, is the birthplace of the Honbo Sake Brewery. It has been more than a hundred years since the brewery began making shochu using Satsuma sweet potatoes, one of Satsuma’s most famous specialties.
Reference: Mars Tsunuki Distillery official website

3. Product name and photo

Mars Malt Le Papillon Monk Swallowtail
Mars malt le papillon doublecask helenus

4. Characteristics

Double cask single malt whisky.

The Mars Malt Le Papillon is a series of whiskys that expresses the beauty of Japan’s seasonal climate and natural environment, which forms the maturing environment for whisky, with a motif of butterflies that live in Japan.
The theme of this product is the “Monkiageha”, one of the largest butterflies in Japan and widely inhabited mainly in western Japan. Two barrels of raw whisky matured in bourbon barrels were vatted together to create an image of the Monkiageha with its black wings and large yellowish-white spots. It is the first single malt whisky in the series to be distilled at the Mars Tsunuki distillery and bottled at natural cask strength with a non-chill filter.

4-1. Tasting Notes

NoseVanilla, caramel, esters, peat
TasteSalty, elegant and sweet. Mild texture.
AftertasteShort and fades quickly, little peatiness.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content58% alcohol by volume
alcohol categoryBlended malt whisky
Barrel typeBourbon barrel
Number of bottles sold422 bottles
Suggested retail price11,000 yen (tax included)
Release dateMay 27, 2021

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price





Product name Mars Malt Le Papillon Monk Swallowtail
Suggested retail price11,000 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is Around 74,800 yen and The resale price on Mercari has been (*As of 6/2/2021)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auction

Current prices on Yahoo Auctions: Lowest price 58 ,000 yen, Highest price 58,000 yen, Average price 58,000 yen.(*as of 6/2/2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

There are no mail-order sites that offer this product at this time. (*As of 6/2/2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

“BAR Shinkai” operated by this site offers one cup, 45 ml: 3,300 yen, 30 ml: 2,200 yen, 15 ml: 1,100 yen.

7. Summary

This Papillon series is a single malt whisky that is bottled in single cask and double cask, so the number of bottles sold is very small.
It is characterized by a complex flavor with a hint of sweetness and a touch of saltiness. The aftertaste is short and elegant with a smooth finish, making it very easy to drink.
The longer it is poured into a glass, the more the sweetness comes to the fore. This is a whisky that should be drunk straight or on the rocks to enjoy the aroma.

■Please check out the other articles about Honbo Shuzo.

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