[Revue] Single Malt Komagatake Christian Druane Cask Finish

Christian Drouin Cask Finish is now available from Single Malt Komagatake.

Christian Drouin is a company that has been making apples and top-quality Calvados for generations in the Normandy region of northern France. Everything from apple cultivation, distillation, aging, and blending is done in-house.

Mars Shinshu Distillery and Christian Drouin have begun an experiment of exchanging Calvados and whiskey casks and aging them in their respective locations.

The single malt Komagatake Christian Druane Cask Finish is made from malt aged in bourbon casks at the Mars Shinshu distillery for more than three years, then aged for two years in Christian Druane Calvados casks, and bottled at cask strength. Limited number of bottlings. 587 bottles.

1. Manufacturer

Hombo Shuzo Brewery Co.

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

2. Distilleries owned

Mars Shinshu Distillery

Location 4752-31 Miyata-mura, Kamiina-gun, Nagano 399-4301
Start of operation 1985

In 1949, Hombo Shuzo, which had been striving to make shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit, in Kagoshima, obtained a license to produce whisky. Since then, the company has held on to the dream of “someday making real whisky that takes full advantage of the Japanese climate.”
After several years of whisky production in Kagoshima, in 1960, he established the Mars Yamanashi Winery, a factory for wine and whisky production in Yamanashi. Then, in order to engage in whisky production in earnest, he searched for an even more ideal location.

The natural conditions for whiskey making are very demanding: cold climate with clean air, moderate humidity, and good quality water.
In 1985, after searching for land that met these conditions, Mars Shinshu Distillery was established at an altitude of 798 meters at the foot of Komagatake Mountain in the Central Alps, Nagano Prefecture, in search of the best environment for whisky making.
In 1992, distillation was halted due to sluggish demand for whisky. Later, as Japanese whisky began to be appreciated worldwide, we decided to resume distilling in 2009, when the demand for whiskey was on the recovery trend, and started distilling again in 2010. The company re-started in February 2011.
In September 2020, it was completely renovated for the first time in 35 years. The investment is approximately 1.2 billion yen.

In May 2019, a new whisky distillation building (including a barrel cellar) was built to renovate aging facilities, improve the barrel cellar facilities with a view to increasing whisky production, and provide tours of the whisky making process, as well as a visitor building to sell original whisky and merchandise.
The new whisky distillation building has a total floor area of 1,996m2 (including the barrel cellar, which will hold approximately 2,500 barrels), and the visitor’s building has a floor area of 746m2.
Reference: Hombo Brewery official website

Production capacity: 1.1 tons of malt per day
Production capacity of malt malt: 1.1 t/day
Main facilities: 1 malt crusher, 1 mash tun reuter (saccharification tank) 6KL, 3 stainless steel fermentation tanks 6KL, 3 Douglas fir wooden fermentation tanks (relocated) 6KL, and a first distillation kettle (relocated).

Image exhibit: Mars Shinshu Distillery official website

For more information about Mars Shinshu Distillery, please click here↓

3. Product name and photo

Single Malt Komagatake Christian Drouin Cask Finish

4. Characteristics

Hombo Shuzo Mars Shinshu Distillery and Christian Drouin, which produces the highest quality Calvados in Normandy, France, began an experiment to exchange whisky and Calvados barrels and mature the original sake in their respective locations.
Enjoy this special single malt whisky, bottled in a limited edition of 587 bottles, made by aging the original malt whisky in bourbon barrels at the Mars Shinshu distillery for more than three years, and then aging (finishing) it for about two additional years in the empty barrels used for Calvados.
Reference: Japanese Whisky|Single Malt Komagatake Christian Druane Cask Finish

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma

Slightly strong alcohol smell. The bourbon aroma is more prominent than that of Calvados. Fruits such as bananas, sweet and sour apples, and a slight light freshness.

TasteMalty sweetness. Sweet and sour of Calvados. Plum and other fruits. Minty freshness.
Aftertaste

Sweetness and bitterness last moderately long.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content61%
By SakeSingle malt Japanese whisky
Cask typeBourbon casks, Calvados casks
Volume700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited to 587 bottles
Suggested retail price12,980 yen (tax included)
Release dateApril 2022

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

 

Product nameSingle Malt Komagatake Christian Druane Cask Finish
Capacity700ml
Suggested Retail Price12,980 yen (including tax)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Currently no resale on Mercari (as of May 23, 2022)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auction

The winning bid on Yahoo! Auction wasLowest 34,480 yen Highest 40,920 yen Average 37,875 yen (*Statistics for the past 180 days from May 23, 2022)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Currently, there seems to be no sales on mail order sites (*as of May 23, 2022).

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

BAR Shinkai, which is operated by this site, is 1 cup, 45ml: 4,290 yen, 30ml: 2,860 yen, 15ml: 1,430 yen We offer this service at

7. Summary

I had the impression that the Calvados and bourbon were very well balanced. Both are not too assertive, but complement each other. The cask strength-derived alcohol angle can certainly be felt, but it is sharp in a good sense. The sweet and sourness of the Calvados, which comes in a little later, keeps you from getting bored.

With a small amount of water added, the Calvados shows its face slightly and becomes fruity, reminiscent of plums and dried plums. We think it would be delicious to drink it twiced up or with soda. It would also work well added in small quantities to a Jack Rose recipe.

As we mentioned a bit earlier in this article, Christian Drouin not only sells high-quality Calvados, but also a gin called “Le Gin” which takes advantage of apple cultivation and uses several types of apples in its base spirit. The company has also released a limited edition version of Le Gin, which is finished with a Calvados cask to give it an even more Calvados flavor.

Please check out our other articles on Hombo Shuzo Single Malt Komagatake.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whiskey and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

created by Rinker
¥1,320
(2022/09/30 15:57:23時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whiskey and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

created by Rinker
¥825
(2022/09/30 11:34:57時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

created by Rinker
repicbook(リピックブック)株式会社
¥1,870
(2022/09/30 13:34:27時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whiskey in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.

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