[Review] Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shosho

Akkeshi Distillery

Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shosho, the fourth in the “24 Season Series” of Akkeshi Whisky, is limited to 10,000 bottles. This is the first release in three months since the last single malt Japanese whisky boushu release.

・The first single malt whisky, Kanro, will be released on October 28, 2020.
・The second release, blended whisky,Usui, will be released on February 28, 2021.
・The third release will be a single malt Japanese whisky,boushu release on May 28, 2021.
The fourth blended whisky, Shosho, will be released on August 25, 2021.

This 24-season series will be released alternately as single malt and blended, and this time it will be blended.
“The year is divided into 24 equal parts, and the seasons are named after them.
“Vanishing heat is the fourteenth of the twenty-four seasons. It is the 14th of the 24 seasonal seasons. The word “heat” means to stop, and the heat eases and a cool breeze begins to blow in the morning and evening. It is also the time of harvest for grains and other crops, but it is also the arrival of the typhoon season.
As the 24 solar terms are not fixed dates, they change from year to year, and in 2021, the first day of summer will be August 23. In 2021, the summer heat will be on August 23, and the summer heat will last for about 15 days from August 23 to September 7, which is the 15th day of the 24th solar term, Hakuro.

1. Maker

Kenten Jitsugyo Co.

EstablishmentEstablished in 1982
Head office Imperial Hotel Tokyo, 1-1-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda ward, Tokyo 100-0011, Japan
Owned distilleryAkkeshi distillery

2. Distillery

Akkeshi Distillery

Address109-2, Miyazono 4-chome, Akkesicho, Akkeshi-gun, Hokkaido 088-1124, Japan
Start of operation October, 2016

2015 Start construction of the distillery
2016 Started distilling in October
2017 Completion of the second aging room.
2018 First product release as Akkeshi distillery in February. Third maturation cellar completed.
2020 Release of the first single malt whisky in February.
   Completion of the fourth maturation cellar in April.

   The first release of the 24 Season Series in October.

Deep fog with tidal air, clean air, and abundant peat. We began distilling in 2016, believing that the climate of akkeshi, Hokkaido, would create the unknown flavors of Japanese whiskey that we were seeking.
Just like the whisky making process on the island of Islay, we use water that passes through a layer of peat for the brewing water, and the whisky is matured day by day in the cool, humid, and sea breezes of akkeshi.
The area around Akkeshi is rich in peat, which is essential for the flavoring of whiskey, and the varied topography of the sea, mountains, and marshland means that different flavors can be expected from each location where the peat is collected.

“With a strong desire to produce whisky like Islay malt using traditional Scottish methods, we installed equipment made by Forsythe in Scotland. Forsythe’s craftsmen came to Japan to carry out all the work. The shape of the pot still is a straight-headed onion shape, similar to those of some distilleries in Islay. Heating is by a radiator system, the attached condenser is a shell and tube type and the mash tun is a semi-loiter type.
The fermentation tank (washback) is stainless steel, and we dare not adjust the temperature. The craftsman determines the timing of fermentation while letting nature take its course.

In addition to the two dunnage-type maturation chambers, an innovative rack-type third maturation chamber was completed in February 2018 right next to Akkeshi Bay, and a rack-type fourth maturation chamber will be completed on a hill overlooking Akkeshi Bay in April 2020. The aroma of the sea wafting through the air is expected to have a positive effect on the characteristics of the whisky.

In addition to bourbon and sherry, difficult-to-obtain “mizunara” oak is used for maturing barrels. In addition to bourbon and sherry, we also use hard-to-find “mizunara” oak barrels.
In addition, barley, the raw material for whiskey, is grown in Akkeshi, and all the barley, including peat and wooden barrels for aging, is produced in Akkeshi. As a new initiative, in August 2021, we will start a trial production of the original whiskey distilled at the Akkeshi Distillery. Maturing in Furano In August 2021, a new initiative was launched to test distilled spirits from the Akkeshi distillery. What kind of changes will be brought about by the undiluted whiskey matured in Furano? This is exactly the kind of terroir that takes advantage of not only the local Akkeshi but also the great character of Hokkaido. The idea of “terroir,” which wine connoisseurs have probably heard a lot about, has been incorporated into whiskey, and the fusion of the “character of Akkeshi” and the “character of Hokkaido” to create whiskey that takes advantage of the terroir of the land is fascinating, and the expectations are endless.

Lake Akkeshi and Bekanbeushi Marsh around Akkeshi Town are registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention is a treaty on wetlands adopted in Ramsar, Iran on February 2, 1971, which aims to conserve and wisely use wetlands as habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife under international cooperation.
We aim to be a distillery that protects and coexists with this rich nature.
The intake for the drinking water used for whiskey is the Homakai River upstream of the oboro River, which runs near the distillery. The area around the distillery is a marshland and a habitat for the baikamo, which is said to live only in clear streams. The small white flowers that bloom in the summer season are a symbol of the rich water. This water nurtures the whisky of the Akkeshi.

Reference: Akkeshi Distillery official website

See also this ↓ for more information on the Akkeshi Distillery.

3. Product name and photo

AKKESHI Blended Whisky Shosho

created by Rinker
厚岸
¥35,800 (2021/12/01 00:26:43時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

4. Characteristics

Most of the whiskey is aged for four years. Bourbon barrels are the main ingredient, and the phenol value, which represents peat, is 20ppm.

The second blended whisky, “Blended Whisky Usui”, was mainly made from 3 years old sake, but “Blended Whisky Shosho” is mainly made from 4 years old sake. The composition of the raw material is mainly bourbon barrels, adjusted with sherry and wine bar rels.
Some people who have already drunk this whisky may feel that it has a more aged feel.
In addition, the peatiness and sweetness unique to the Akkeshi has been brushed up with each release, and this one has a complexity that is hard to believe for a blended beer, a maturation feeling that is even deeper, and a gentle peaty aroma with a phenolic value of 20ppm. The sweetness that lurks in the peat is still present in this release. It is a blended whisky with a complex and refined taste, and you can enjoy the peatiness of the Akkeshi brand, which has both “peat” and “sweetness”.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaSmoky, French toast
TasteMildly peaty, with a refreshing citrus sweetness and milk sweetness.
AftertasteSpicy and slightly tidal. Gradually soft sweetness spreads.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol Content48%
alcohol categoryBlended Whisky
Barrel typeMainly bourbon barrels, sherry barrels, wine barrels
Volume700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited to 10,000 bottles
Suggested retail price11,000 yen (tax included)
Release dateAugust 25, 2021

5. Awards

There is no award history at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameAkkeshi Blended Whiskey “Shosho”
Capacity700ml
Suggested retail priceTax included: 11,000 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 60,000 yen. (*As of August 25, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

There are currently no items for sale on Yahoo Auction.(*As of August 25, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is also sold at mail order sites for around 90,000 yen. (*As of August 25, 2021)

created by Rinker
厚岸
¥35,800 (2021/12/01 00:26:43時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At BAR SHINKAI, which is operated by our website, we offer even a small amount of onedrink, 45ml: 3,630 yen 30ml: 2,420 yen, 15ml: 1,210 yen, etc.

7. Summary

That unique peaty taste of Akkeshi is no longer an exaggeration to say “Akkeshi brand”.
It is a blend of malt from various barrels, including peated malt, and imported grain aged in the Akkeshi region. “Even the blended whisky “Usui” had a very rich aroma and heavy flavor that made me think it was like a single malt. I believe that the various aromas and flavors that come out in multiple layers are the result of the Akkeshi Distillery’s dedication to the creation of raw materials and the maturing environment of the Akkeshi region.

From the first release to this one, all of them have been released every three to four months at a very fast pace. So the next release will be in November or December? If that’s the case, I wonder if the naming will be “Rittou,” “Shosetsu,” or “Taisetsu.
The next release will be a single malt, since the 24 Season series seems to alternate between single malt and blended. I’m looking forward to the next one and can’t wait for it.
“The next release will be a single malt. If the pace is 3 bottles per year, it will take 8 years to complete the series. I would definitely like to complete the series.

The Akkeshi Distillery’s future plans include growing barley, the raw material for whiskey, in the Akkeshi area, and producing all of its whiskey, including peat and wooden barrels for maturation, in the Akkeshi area, with the aim of creating an “all-star” whiskey in the future.
This year, too, it seems that the sowing of Akkeshi barley was successfully completed in mid-May. “It seems that preparations are steadily underway for the “Akkeshi All Star.
They are also stepping up their efforts to use Hokkaido barley (Furano, Nakashibetsu) as a raw material, and although the Hokkaido barley they tested in 2018 cost more than twice as much as the Scottish barley and had an alcohol yield of about 80-90%, the flavors were Japanese (warm tangerine, roasted chestnuts, dense roasted sweet potato). From 2019, they will be producing about 10% of the distillery’s barley from Hokkaido.

If you want to know more about the Akkeshi Distillery, it was featured on BS Fuji’s Whiskipedia in December 2020, so be sure to check out that distribution.
The program is not only about the charm of Akkeshi whiskey, but also about the nature of Akkeshi town, the fishery centering on oyster fishing, and the marriage of whiskey and oysters from Akkeshi.

■Please also check out other articles about “Akkeshi Distillery and Akkeshi Whisky”.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to know more about Japanese whisky, which is a worldwide trend, and want to learn more about it, we highly recommend these books.

(1). Japanese Whiskey 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.

(2). Whisky Galore Vol.25 April 2021

The April 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute.
This issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, features the definition of Japanese whisky and a list of 24 distilleries as the latest in Japanese whisky. It also includes an interview with Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, making it a must-have for Japanese whisky fans.

created by Rinker
¥3,000
(2021/11/30 15:31:21時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(3). Whisky 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 whiskey 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 whiskey can be found.

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