[Review] The Lucky Cat Luna

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Hombo Shuzokomagatake Distillery

“The Lucky Cat” is a series of blended whiskies featuring cats with rich personalities, created using the blending techniques of Mars Whisky.

The Lucky Cat series was launched seven years ago in honor of the president of the cat-loving Hombo Brewery. The Lucky Cat Luna, the seventh in the series, is based on the motif of “Luna” a tomboyish cat that came on a beautiful moonlit night, and is additionally aged (finished) in Manzanilla sherry cask and Oloroso sherry cask. It is a blended whisky with a double sherry cask finish. It is characterized by a taste that is both bittersweet and sweet.


Lucky Cats of the past

  Product name Release Date Number of units released Price (incl. tax)
First product The Lucky Cat “Sun” September 25, 2015 1,200 bottles 4,400 yen
Second bullet The Lucky Cat “Ash 99” August 25, 2016 4,300 bottles 4,950 yen
Third bullet The Lucky Cat “Mint” November 10, 2017 3,830 bottles 4,400 yen
Fourth bullet The Lucky Cat “Mae” September 22, 2018 3,387 bottles 4,730 yen
Fifth bullet The Lucky Cat “Hana” February 1, 2020 3,000 bottles 4,950 yen
Sixth bullet The Lucky Cat “Choco” March 4, 2021 6,700 bottles 4,950 yen
Seventh bullet The Lucky Cat “Luna” March 30, 2022 5,220 bottles 4,950 yen

1. Maker

Hombo Brewery Co.

Founded in 1872
Head office location 891-0122; 3-27 Minamiei, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Distilleries owned Mars Shinshu Distillery, Mars Tsunuki Distillery

2. Distillery

Mars Shinshu Distillery

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

The Hombo Brewery, which had been striving to make shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit, in Kagoshima, obtained a license to produce whisky in 1949. 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 a factory for wine and whisky production , Mars Yamanashi Winery, in Yamanashi. Then, in order to engage in full-scale whisky production, he searched for an even more ideal location.

The natural conditions for whisky making are very severe: 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 a slump in demand for whisky. In 2009, when Japanese whisky was beginning to gain worldwide recognition and demand for whisky was recovering, the distillery decided to resume distilling and started again in February 2011.

In September 2020, the distillery was completely renovated for the first time in 35 years. The investment will be approximately 1.2 billion yen.


Starting in May 2019, a new whisky distillation building (including a barrel cellar) and a visitor’s building will be built to renovate aging facilities, improve the barrel cellar facilities in anticipation of increased whisky production, and provide tours of whisky production, as well as to sell original whisky and merchandise, while existing facilities and equipment will be renovated.
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.

Production capacity: 1.1 tons of malt per day
Undiluted sake production volume: approx. 700 L/day, approx. 185 KL/year (planned for FY2020)
Major equipment: 1 malt crusher, 1 mash tun reuter (saccharification tank) 6KL, 3 stainless steel fermentation tanks 6KL, 3 Douglas fir wooden fermentation tanks (relocated) 6KL, first distillation kettle (relocated)

Reference: Hombo Shuzo official website

See also ↓ for information on Mars Shinshu Distillery.


3. Product name and photo

The Lucky Cat Luna

4. Features

Image Exhibit: blended whisky|The Lucky Cat Luna|Honbo Brewery[ /caption]


Fusion of Manzanilla and Oloroso

It is a double sherry cask finish with a clean, dry type “Manzanilla” and a double sherry cask finish

with “Oloroso” , which is characterized by its stimulating, rich, and full-bodied dryness.

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Apricot jam, almond
Taste Financier, doughnut, almond
Lingering Toasty, dry oak lingers on the palate.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content 40%
By Liquor Blended
Cask type Manzanilla Sherry, Oloroso Sherry
Content volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited to 5,220 bottles
Suggested Retail Price 4,950 yen (tax included)
Release Date March 30, 2022

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product name The Lucky Cat Luna
Capacity 700ml
Suggested Retail Price Tax included: 4,950 yen

6-2. resale price on mercari

Resale prices on Mercari are around 16,500 yen to 17,000 yen. (*As of April 1, 2022)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The lowestbid price on Yahoo! Auctions was 11,000 yen, the highest was 11,000 yen, and the average was 11,000 yen (*Statistics from the past 180 days since April 1, 2022)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

There do not appear to be any listings on mail order sites at this time. (*As of April 1, 2022)

ザ・ラッキーキャット メイ 700ml 40%

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, one glass is available for 45ml: 1,650 yen, 30ml: 1,100 yen, and 15ml: 550 yen.


7. Summary

The drink is refreshing and slightly sweet, with almost no alcohol taste. After the sweetness, there is a touch of bitterness, perhaps due to the manzanilla, but this is not an unpleasant bitterness, but rather a gentle bitterness that is just right. I have the impression that it is good as a food drink with soda.

The Manzanilla and Oloroso double sherry is a good blend that complements each other nicely, making it a cosy whisky.


Hombo Shuzo is famous for Mars Shinshu distillery and you may be familiar with their blended whisky ” Iwai Tradition” and single malt “Komagatake” , but recently Tsunuki distillery has been releasing whisky one after another. Edition and other high quality Japanese whiskys.

Please take a look at our other articles on Hombo Brewery.




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 whisky 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

(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 whisky 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.

(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 whisky? 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.

(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 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.

新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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