Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mars Iwai Tradition Wine Cask Finish 40% abv

Nose: Absolutely lovely. Rich and dominantly sweet with aromas of two of my favourite childhood and adolescent chocolate bars: Cherry Ripe - ripe juicy cherries and grated coconut dipped in dark chocolate, and Fry’s Turkish Delight - rose flavoured centre surrounded by milk chocolate. The sweetness continues with Allen’s Raspberries, marshmallows (both white and pink), and hot ginger caramel sauce. From here the direction changes with a mixture of guava juice, Japanese honey suckle, chamomile tea, and crisp Tottori pears. Shy but very evident Tang Orange flavor drink mix and/or Vitamin C tablets waft from the glass.

Taste: Many lush traits from the nose (Cherry Ripe / Turkish Delight). In addition spiced port wine, dried figs, ginger cookies, hot milk and honey, raspberry gums, and toffee. Certainly a dram that brings a glow to your face - I love it. Later on in the game, teasing salt and pepper played with my taste buds.

Finish: Medium to border-line long on mellow spiced port, ginger cookies, honey milk, and dried figs.

Comment: I bet you if you put this superb dram in a blind tasting not too many people will associate it as being a blend that costs as little as 2,200 yen (depending on place of purchase). This is the first release of the Iwai Tradition Wine Cask Finish with an outturn of 2,495 bottles. This will be followed up with a second release; again using ex-red wine casks from Hombo Shuzo’s Chateau MarsWinery in Yamanashi, so if you missed out this time around grab a few bottles next time. 


  1. Hi Clint,
    I got a couple of these sent to Oz - all up cost about $AU50.
    When you look at the range of whiskies available in Australia at this price point, there is only one word to use about this -BARGAIN!!!
    I got my brother in Yokohama to buy me a couple more for me to drink next time I'm in Japan.
    Far too good to pass up!

    1. Hi Alan,
      That's right, you have a brother here... good on you sourcing the Iwai WCF. A couple of bottles plus shipping to Oz at $AU50 is a bargain indeed. Just think, right now in Oz, well in many countires to be honest, for $50 dollars you get some unpleasant stuff (based on two bottles). Actually that is not bad indeed - say roughly 2,000 yen a bottle - that means it was roughly about 1,000 yen to send - wow! how did you manage that? Enjoy it Alan, my first bottle is finished and waiting on two more to come through.

    2. Sorry Clint - I meant about $50 a bottle including freight from Japan - the freight was more than the whisky! Still a bloody great bargain, because for that money here you'll an inoffensive,bland blended Scotch or a bottom of the range single malt ( think Glenfiddich 12yo)
      The Iwai by contrast just sucks you in with its quality & character. I know the other 2 bottles my brother picked up for me are safe because he doesn't drink!
      I may have to get more sent here because it is just too easy to drink!

    3. I see - thanks for the follow up Alan. Yeah it's usually about 5,400 to send two bottles - depends on how much they are packed with bubble wrap. Still, for such a lovely treat well worth it. There would not be too many people in Oz I presume that has a bottle or two of the IWAI WCF - except Brian that is - so you might want to drink sparingly Alan. It's such a lovely dram it's hard not though hey. Enjoy.

  2. As a heads up, it appears that they just released the "second batch".

    keep your eyes open! :D

    1. Thanks for the heads up. The second release of the Iwai Tradition Wine Cask Finish was on the 4th of June. Like the first release it will retail for 2,300 yen (includes tax). Although the second release was at the Osaka Whisky festival I completely over looked it. Apparently the second release can be recognized by numbers that are in black at the neck of the bottle. I will confirm this and will be grabbing a bottle soon.