Mars Iwai Whisky Review

Mars Iwai Whisky Review

Mars Iwai Whisky is one of the newer Japanese whiskies that’s been showing up on the shelves over the last couple of years. It’s a distillery that’s been around for a while and is known for high quality whisky in Japan, but in America it’s just getting its feet wet.

In Mars’ Words: Mars Iwai Whisky

“Kiichiro Iwai, the name sake for this Mars Whisky, was a silent pioneer of Japan whisky. This whisky is inspired by great whiskies of America. A majority of corn balanced with light malt aged in ex bourbon barrels. Ideal for daily sipping, in a mint julep or an old fashioned.
TASTING NOTES: Sweet with fruit flavors like pear, quince and hints of red fruits and vanilla.”

Being a “bourbon inspired” whisky it’s made from 3/4 corn and 1/4 malted barley and aged in ex-bourbon casks I was expecting more of a bourbon character from it. Instead I got something resembling a poor blended which we’ll get into in the Mars Iwai Whisky review below.

Mars Iwai Whisky Info

Region: Nagano, Japan

Distiller: Mars Distillery
Mashbill: Japanese Single Malt + Japanese Grain Whisky (mostly corn)
Cask: ex-Bourbon
Age: NAS
ABV: 40%

Price: $35

Mars Iwai Whisky Review

Light caramel

Corn whiskey, caramel syrup, rubbing alcohol, nuts and artificial sweetener. It’s rather terrible.

Artificial caramel corn, rubbing alcohol and a bit of vanilla. Like the aroma it tastes rather terrible… damn.

Short drop of artificial sweetness and alcohol that plunges into sharp metallic bitterness.

Unbalanced, thin body and a weak watery feel.

My first thought when experiencing the Iwai Blended Whiskey was “what monster bottled piss poor corn whiskey as Japanese whisky?”. Then after it sat for a minute and I considered what I was sniffing and drinking I took that internal comment back. it’s more like a flavored vodka made from low-grade flavoring and even lower grade vodka.

There’s no other way to put it, the Mars Iwai Whisky sucks. But while it doesn’t taste or smell good at least it’s not harsh, sharp, bitter or acidic; its one saving grace is that it’s spineless. If it had been aggressive it would have come across simialr to what I imagine drinking bio-fuel would be like. You can safely leave this one on the shelf and not feel like you’re missing anything.

SCORE: 63/100 (D)

Mars Iwai Whisky Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 63
  • Palate - 63
  • Finish - 63
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 63


Mars Iwai Whisky is not very good… not very good at all.

Mars Iwai Whisky Label

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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