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MARS Whisky Special Tasting Event

Launch of MARS Komagatake Single Malt ‘Wine Cask Finish’

On December 6th, 2021, Deja vu Sake Co. & Deja vu Wine Co. had hosted an exclusive online tasting event, showcasing Mars Komagatake Single Malt ‘Wine Cask Finish’, in collaboration with Voyager Estate Winery from the famous Margaret River region of Western Australia.

The event was hosted over Zoom webinar due to COVID restrictions, however, thanks to the technology, we were able to connect multiple locations over several time zones, from Sydney, Margaret River, Perth, all the way to Kagoshima (Japan), and Shinshu, Nagano (Japan).
The guests participated from all over Australia and Japan, and we even had some participants from New Zealand.


During this special event, we had the pleasure of having wonderful panels;

  • Chris Furtado – CEO of Voyager Estate Winery
  • Travis Lemm – Wine Maker & Winery Manager, Voyager Estate Winery
  • Mr. Hombo – The Owner of Mars Whisky
  • Mr. Kunai – Chief Blender of Mars Whisky
  • Andrew Cameron – Director of Deja vu Wine Co. & Deja vu Sake Co. and,
  • Yukino Ochiai – Director of Deja vu Sake Co. as MC

The guests had a sample pack sent to them prior to the event, containing two sample bottles of MARS single malt whiskies:

  • Komagatake 2021 Edition Single Malt Whisky

  • Komagatake Single Malt Whisky Voyager Estate Wine Cask Finish Bottled in 2021

And they enjoyed the video presentations from Mars Whisky and Voyager Estate, then the live interactive tasting session with Master Blender, Mr. Kunai, comparing the above two single malt whiskies

Full video of MARS Tasting Event 2021

– Q & A for the questions we received from the participants –

Q. What is the big difference Japanese whisky has, compared with scotch whisky or other country’s one?


A. Though Japanese whisky has its roots in Scotch whisky, we can create different varieties of whisky from subtle & delicate style to strong & robust flavours thanks to an impressive attention to detail which is very typical of Japanese.
And we can enhance them even more, by maturing them in a Japanese natural environment that changes constantly throughout the four seasons to create richly flavoured whisky with maturity and harmony.


Q. I would love further insights as to how you have worked with Voyager Estate on the creation of this collaborative product.


A. As it takes almost a month to transport the barrels from Margaret River to Shinshu, Nagano in Japan, the biggest concern was the barrel being spoiled if there was a little wine leftover and deteriorated.

After much discussion with Voyager Estate, we’ve decided to rinse the barrel with hot water and add a small antioxidant.
When we launched the first version of this collaboration in 2019, we had an opportunity to visit Voyager Estate Winery in Margaret River. We remember the quite a long flight from Sydney to Perth, as well as a 5-6 hours drive from Perth to Margaret River (thank you for being the driver, Andrew!).
We were able to have a profound discussion with Chris and Travis about wine and winemaking in their wine cellar, and reaffirmed our shared values of Terroir, to express the regionality and environmental context with our products.
We are hoping to continue this collaboration and exchanges with Voyager Estate, such as inviting Travis to mentor our winemakers in Japan, or sending our Japanese winemakers to Voyager Estate for training. Unfortunately, these projects haven’t been realized yet, but we hope the pandemic ends soon and we will be able to further our collaborations.





Q.  I would like to know its expected positioning and target segment in Japan and/or Australia markets.


A. We would like to communicate Japanese whisky’s value and charm to the whisky enthusiasts, who enjoy quality over quantity, with our signature single malt ranges, ‘KOMAGATAKE’ and ‘TSUNUKI’.


Q. What’s new on the horizon for MARS Whisky?


A. We aim to be a world-renowned craft Japanese whisky maker, by pursuing to produce superior quality whiskies, rather than expanding our production scale.


Q. I would like to better understand the Name Komagatake and its relevance to Mars and the Mars Whisky style.


A. ‘KOMAGATAKE’ is the name of the mountain among the Central Alps, which we can admire from our Shinshu distillery. Its majestic figure is admired by many mountaineering enthusiasts.
In Japan, we have a history of worshipping mountains as gods and guardians of the area. By borrowing its name, we are hoping to create whiskies that are calm and have fortitude like the Komagatake mountain.



Q. What are the main things you are looking for when deciding on a blend?


A.  A short answer would be “diversity and harmony”.
Blending is to create harmonious flavours by blending different types of whiskies with various characteristics.
If you blend gentle and manageable whiskies together, it could be cozy and comfortable flavours but lacks power and vibrancy.
Unblended whiskies with distinct characteristics can create a wonderful harmony when blended together.



Q. I would love to know a little bit more about what makes Mars, and Japanese Whisky in general, so much finer than other country’s productions.


A. We believe the Japanese climate has a big influence.
‘Water’ plays a big part in whisky flavours. Japan has much rain throughout the year and 70 % of its land is the forest that stores an abundance of water.
Japan doesn’t have much calcareous soil, and the majority of its water is soft water. Soft water helps slow and steady fermentation and maturation, which would create gentle flavours.
And seasonal changes in Japan add extra elements to the maturation process, and the whiskies develop fuller and harmonious flavours.




Q. When blending the whisky aged in Voyager wine casks, how long does the whisky spend in the ex-bourbon casks?


A. The unblended whisky was stored in bourbon casks from June 2016 to March 2020, so 3 years and 8 months.


Q.What is your strategy to keep Mars Whisky competitive during this whisky booming era?


A. There are 3 key elements that differentiate Mars whisky from other craft whisky makers of our sizes:
1) Owns two distilleries
2) Owns three aging facilities
3) And each distillery and aging facility’s location offers a different and distinctive environment.
Thanks to these, we are able to create a variety of unblended whiskies to express multi-dimensional flavours of Japanese whisky, by mix-and-matching “different distillation” or “different maturation environments”.
We would continue to strengthen these elements as our specialty.


① 2つの蒸溜所を持っていること ② 3つのエージングサイトを持っていること ➂ そして、それらの立地する自然環境が全く違うこと。この3つです。

これにより私たちは「蒸溜方法の違い」や「熟成環境の違い」を組み合わせて多様なタイプの原酒を造り分け、変化に富んだ日本の自然の味を多角的に表すことができます。 この特徴を他メーカーとの差異化要素として高めていきます。