[Review] Single Malt Tsunuki 2023 Edition

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Hombo ShuzoTsunuki Distillery

We have just released a limited edition bottle to commemorate the 6th anniversary of the completion of the Mars Tsunuki Distillery in November 2022, and now we are releasing the “Single Malt Tsunuki 2023 Edition”.
The Mars Tsunuki distillery is located in the basin, where the temperature difference and the high quality water from the Mt. This single malt is made by vatting several malt liquors around a bourbon barrel.
MSRP 8,800 yen (including tax), limited to 47,000 bottles.
Gorgeous and fruity. It seems to have a different taste from last year’s 2022 Edition.


1. Manufacturer

Hombo Shuzo Co.

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

2. Distillery

Mars Tsunuki Distillery

Location 6594, Kaseda-Tsunuki, Minami-Satsuma-shi, Kagoshima 899-3611
Start of operation 2016

Tsunukiin Kaseda, Minamisatsuma City. “The Mars Tsunuki Distillery”, the southernmost whisky distillery on the mainland, is located in the green mountains southwest of Satsuma Peninsula.

Tsunuki, located in the southwestern part of the Satsuma Peninsula, is in a long basin along the Kaseda River, a tributary of the Manose River. Surrounded by Mt. Kurata (475m) to the east and Mt. Nagaya (513m) to the west, the basin-like topography makes the summers hot and the winters cold, which are extremely severe in South Satsuma.
The area has a natural environment that is a “blessing from nature” with good water resources (Mt. Kurata spring water), and is known as “Tsunuki Mikan” (mandarin orange), which is cultivated by effectively utilizing the mountain slope.
Blessed with a mild climate and good water resources, Tsunuki is the birthplace of the Honbo Sake Brewery. It has been more than 100 years since the brewery started making shochu using Satsuma sweet potatoes, one of Satsuma’s representative specialties.
Reference: Mars Tsunuki Distillery official website

3. Product name and photo

Single Malt Tsunuki 2023 Edition

Single Malt Tsunuki 2023 Edition

4. Characteristics

“Single Malt Tsunuki” is produced at the Mars Tsunuki distillery located in the green mountains southwest of the Satsuma Peninsula, blessed with a climate with temperature differences unique to the basin and high-quality spring water from the Mount Kurata mountain range. The “2023 Edition” is a single malt whisky released in 2023, which is made by vatting malt aged in a variety of barrels, mainly bourbon barrels.
Please enjoy the deep and complex taste of the rich, thick, fresh and fruity malt whisky.
*This product conforms to the Japan Western Whisky Brewers Association’s “Standards for the Labeling of Japanese Whisky”.
Reference: Japanese Whisky|Single Malt Tsunuki 2023 Edition|Honbo Shuzo Co.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaGorgeous and fruity aroma reminiscent of sherry
TastePassion fruit, LaFrance, mellow, sweet and sour
AftertasteGood acidity and slight tannins linger on the palate

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content50% alcohol by volume
By SakeSingle malt Japanese whisky
Barrel typeMainly Bourbon Barrel
Number of bottles soldLimited to 47,000 bottles
Suggested retail price8,800 yen (tax included)
Release dateJanuary 18, 2023

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product nameSingle Malt Tsunuki 2023 Edition
Suggested retail price8,800 yen (including tax)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Resale prices on Mercari range from around 36,000 yen to 45,000 yen. (*As of 1/23/2023)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

There are no confirmed listings on Yahoo! Auctions. (*As of 1/23/2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

They are also available on mail order sites for around 9,000 yen to 14,000 yen. (*As of 1/23/2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, one glass is offered at 45ml: 2,640 yen, 30ml: 1,760 yen, and 15ml: 880 yen.

Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys introduced on this site, they also hand...

7. Summary

The aroma and attack are both rich and mellow with sherry. There is no official comment on whether sherry casks are used or not, but the taste is very gorgeous and mellow. The sweet and sour fruit is followed by a pleasant bitterness. Overall, it has a thick and satisfying finish. Even with added water, the flavor profile is maintained and leads to a lingering aftertaste.

■Please be sure to check out the other articles on whiskies from the Honbo shuzo and Tsunuki Distillery.




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.

Misato Ushiwata

Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
She attended a university in Tokyo, where she studied brewing and other sciences while translating articles for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary