The whisky I’m going to introduce here is a product of the Akkeshi Distillery, located in Akkeshi, Hokkaido, which just opened in 2016. If you are a whisky lover, you are naturally familiar with this distillery.
As of now (1/3/2019), there are two products released by Akkeshi Distillery.
Akkeshi NEW BORN FOUNDATIONS 1 (released on 2/27/2018)
Akkeshi NEW BORN FOUNDATIONS 2 (released on 8/28/2018)
Usually, Scotch whisky is packed in barrels after distillation and aged for at least three years before being commercialized as whisky.
(In Japan, there is no such rule, so the manufactures of minimum aging period are unknown.)
The Akkeshi Distillery has planned and launched the NEW BORN series to inform whisky lovers about the “present state of the Akkeshi Distillery” prior to the upcoming official commercialization.
First of all, I would like to introduce “Akkeshi NEW BORN FOUNDATIONS 1” which was released in February 2018!
Kenten Jitsugyo Co.
Akkeshi Distillery (Started operation in 2016)
Hokkaido’s second whisky distillery aims to produce whisky like Islay malt.
The Akkeshi distillery opened in 2016 with the strong desire to “make whisky like Islay malt using traditional Scottish methods.” The distillery uses equipment made by Forsythe in Scotland.
Like the whisky making process on the island of Islay, water that passes through a layer of peat is used as the brewing water, and the whisky is matured in the cool, moist, and sea breezy location of Akkeshi.
4-109-2 Miyazono, Akkeshicho, Akkeshi-gun, Hokkaido 088-1124, Japan
Kenten Jitsugyo Co.
The distillery tour is organized by “Akkeshi Taste Terminal Conchiglie”.
For more information, please visit this page.
Akkeshi Newborn Foundation 1
The whisky is bathed in non-peated malt raw materials aged in bourbon barrels for 5 to 14 months.
The first in a series of four releases, “Akkeshi NEW BORN FOUNDATIONS” is made by batting unpeated malt raw materials aged in bourbon barrels for 5 to 14 months, with an alcohol content of 60 degrees to experience a taste similar to that of the original barrels.
The tasting notes on the manufacturer’s website are as follows.
Nose: Sweet lemon, nutty, honey-like aroma
Taste: Citrusy acidity and rich sweetness
Aftertaste: Vanilla-like sweetness and coffee-like bitterness
Type: Single malt
Ingredients: Malt Alcohol Content: 60
This is an unprecedented achievement for a whisky in the maturation stage.
It received a high score of 88.5 out of 100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019.
Suggested retail price: 3,300 yen (tax included: 3,564 yen)
Capacity: 200 ml
The number of products sold was limited and sold out immediately at most retailers. I’m not even sure if it was on the shelves at all.
When I checked the sales situation on mail-order sites like Rakuten and amazon, I found that it was priced at about 7,500 yen to 12,000 yen, which was already a premium of about three times the regular price. (As of January 3, 2019)
I think it has something to do with the scarcity of the product and the fact that the quality of the product is quite high despite the fact that the distillery has only been in business for less than two years. I also expect that this is due to the fact that the passion and commitment of the Akkeshi Distillery to whisky making has already been recognized and appreciated.
As I am from Hokkaido, this whisky has a very strong personal attachment to me.
The other day, I had a chance to talk with Mr. Keiichi Toita, President of Kenten Jitsugyo, and heard about his thoughts on whisky making. I learned that he is passionate about whisky and that he is very particular about the land, facilities, and ingredients used to build his distillery in order to create a delicious Islay malt like Ardbeg.
The specs of New Born are so high that it has been highly rated by Whisky Bible as soon as it was released, so I really can’t wait for the official release in 2020, and after this, the third and fourth series of New Born will be released in 2019. Don’t miss it, whisky lovers!