[Review] “COSMO” MANZANILLA CASK FINISH Bottled in 2021

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Hombo Shuzo

Cosmo Manzanilla Cask Finish was released in 2019 under the same name, and the product description and alcohol content on the official website are exactly the same.

Manzanilla is a dry white wine made from Palomino grapes, and Manzanilla is the lightest and driest of all sherry wines. It can be called a dry crisp sherry. Finishing in fino-type Manzanilla casks gives the whisky a light aroma reminiscent of white wine, a light sweetness, and a bitter oaky flavor.

Generally speaking, sherry casks used for aging whisky are Oloroso sherry and Pedro Ximenez sherry, and “Manzanilla” is a dry, dry sherry, as opposed to the relatively dense sherry casks that are empty. I am very much looking forward to seeing what kind of flavors the whisky will give us as it ages, and it will be fun to compare it with the Manzanilla Cask released in 2019.


1. Manufacturer

Honbo Shuzo Co.

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

2. Distillery

Mars Shinshu distillery

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

It was in 1949 that Honbo Shuzo, which had been striving to make shochu, a Japanese distilled liquor, in Kagoshima, obtained a license to produce whisky. Since then, the company has been holding onto the dream of one day producing a genuine whisky that takes advantage of the Japanese climate.
In 1960, after several years of whisky production in Kagoshima, he established the Mars Yamanashi Winery in Yamanashi, a factory for wine and whisky production. Then, in order to engage in whisky production in earnest, they searched for an even more ideal location.

The natural conditions for whisky production are very severe, including a cold climate with clean air, as well as moderate humidity and good quality water.
After searching for a site that met these conditions, we opened the Mars Shinshu Distillery in 1985 at an altitude of 798 meters at the foot of Mount Komagatake in the Central Alps of Nagano Prefecture, in search of the best environment for whisky production.
In 1992, the distillery stopped distilling due to sluggish demand for whisky. Later, as Japanese whisky began to be appreciated worldwide, the demand for whisky began to recover in 2009 In September 2020, In September 2020, the distillery will be completely renovated for the first time in 35 years. The investment will be approximately 1.2 billion yen.
From May 2019, the whisky distillation building (including barrel storage) will be newly constructed for the purpose of renovating aging facilities, building barrel storage facilities with an eye to increasing whisky production, and observing whisky production, and the visitor building will be newly constructed for the purpose of selling original whisky and goods, and existing facilities and equipment will be renovated.
The new whisky distillery building has a total floor area of 1,996 square meters (including a barrel storage room that will hold approximately 2,500 barrels), and the visitor building has a floor area of 746 square meters.
Reference: Honbo Shuzo official website

■Production capacity: 1.1 tons of raw malt per day
■Production volume: approx. 700 litres/day, approx. 185 kl/year (planned for 2020)

■Brewing capacity: approx. 700 liters/day, approx. 185 KL/year (planned for FY2020)
Major equipment: 1 malt grinding machine, 1 mash tun reuter (saccharification tank) 6KL x 1, stainless steel fermentation tanks 6KL x 3, Douglas fir wooden fermentation tanks (relocated) 6KL x 3, first distillation kettle (relocated)

For more information about Mars Shinshu Distillery, please see here↓.


3. Product name and photo

Mars MaltageCOSMO” MANZANILLA CASK FINISH Bottled in 2021

4. Characteristics

COSMO aged in Manzanilla cask

“Mars Maltage Cosmo”, which expresses complexity and depth by vatting multiple malts, is additionally matured (finished) in the same empty barrels used for Manzanilla, a light and dry sherry. It is a limited production malt whisky that has the soft and mellow mouthfeel of COSMO, with aromas of dried fruits, brown sugar, and maple syrup from the cask, and pleasant flavors of coconut and chocolate, with a hint of bitterness, in well-balanced harmony.
This product is made with some imported raw materials.

Reference: Malt Whisky|Mars Maltage COSMO Manzanilla Cask FinishBottled in 2021

Manzanilla is a dry white wine made from Palomino grapes and is the lightest and driest of all sherry wines. Manzanilla is the lightest and driest of all sherries. It is a dry, crisp sherry.
Finishing in fino-type Manzanilla casks gives the whisky a light aroma reminiscent of white wine, a light sweetness, and a bitter oaky flavor.

4-1. Tasting Notes

NoseRefreshing herbs, butter, milk, dried fruits
TasteMilk caramel, coconut, bitter chocolate, malt sweetness.
AftertasteRefreshing, bitter oak aroma and a gentle sweetness that lingers as the chocolate melts and disappears.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content42% alcohol by volume
alcohol categoryBlended malt whisky
Cask TypeAdditional maturation in Manzanilla barrels
Number of bottles soldLimited quantity
Suggested retail price5,500 yen (tax included)
Release dateJune 15, 2021

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameMars Mortage Koshi Hyaku Manzanilla Cask Finish Bottled in 2021
Suggested retail price5,500 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 10,000 yen to 12,800 yen. (*As of June 16, 2021)

Image courtesy of Mercari

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction is 5,750 yen, the highest is 8,980 yen, and the average is 7,076 yen(*Statistics for the past 120 days since June 16, 2021)

Sold prices for Manzanilla Cask Finish released in 2019.

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is also sold at mail order sites for around 15,000 yen.(*As of June 16, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At BAR SHINKAI, which is operated by this website, a singledrink is available for 45ml: 1,650 yen, 30ml: 1,100 yen, 15ml: 550 yen.


7. Summary

The aroma is refreshing and slightly spicy. The impression is dry, dry, light and not very sweet, which is characteristic of Manzanilla, but when it comes to the taste, the mouthfeel is mild, buttery, bitter chocolate, sweet and elegant. However, when it comes to the taste, the mouthfeel is mild, sweet and elegant like butter or bitter chocolate. It is a whisky with a calm sweetness that comes out gently from the middle to the latter half, and it is very easy to drink. It’s not a wine cask or sherry cask (Pedro Ximenez Oloroso), where the sweetness is at full throttle, but rather a supporting role, complementing the dryness and white peppery spiciness of the Manzanilla whisky, which is the star of the show.

■It’s a good whisky, and it’s well balanced.


https://jpwhisky.net/2020/12 /22/mars_maltage_cosmo/

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

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

(1). 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.


(2). Whisky Galore Vol.25 April 2021

The April 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute.
This issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, features the definition of Japanese whisky and a list of 24 distilleries as the latest in Japanese whisky. It also includes an interview with Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, making it a must-have for Japanese whisky fans.

(3). Whisky 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 whisky 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.

鈴木 あかり

Born in Saitama, Japan.
Also active as an actor and graphic designer. He joined Shinkai BAR because he likes to drink. He is in charge of translating articles into English and other languages for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

鈴木 あかりをフォローする
Japanese Whisky Dictionary