[Review] Glen Muscle No.8 “Five Spirits” Akkeshi Blend

This is the eighth edition of Glen Muscle, a whisky brand for enthusiasts by enthusiasts.

Glen Muscle No.8  “Five Spirits”  Atsugishi Blend. 300 bottles only.

What is “Five Spirits” ? Raw spirits from five distilleries and Five pairs of brewers (The subtitle “Five Spirits” expresses the passion of Glen Muscle (Team Glen Muscle + 4 bars in Hokkaido).

 

This world blended whisky is a blend of raw materials from three distilleries in Japan and two distilleries in Scotland. The raw materials from the domestic distilleries include raw materials from two distilleries used by the Atsugishi distillery for test maturation at the planned construction site. For the overseas raw materials, Islay malt and grain raw materials imported from Scotland are used.

It took about a year from conception to commercialization of this superb bottle.

1. Manufacturer

Kenten Jitsugyo Co.

EstablishmentEstablished in 1982
Head office Imperial Hotel Tokyo, 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011, Japan
Owned distilleryAkkeshi distillery

2. Distillery

 Akkeshi Distillery

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

2015 Started construction of the distillery.
2016 Distillation started in October.
2017 The second maturation warehouse was completed.
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.
   OctoberThe first release of the 24 Season Series.

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. Letting nature take its course, the craftsman determines the timing of fermentation.

In addition to the two dunnage-type aging rooms, a third innovative rack-type aging room was completed right next to Akkeshi Bay in February 2018, and a fourth rack-type aging room 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 barrels, the company also uses hard-to-find “mizunara” oak barrels. In addition to bourbon and sherry, we also use hard-to-find “mizunara” oak barrels, and we challenge all possibilities, such as matching with wine and rum 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 whisky, and the fusion of the “personality of Akkeshi” and the “personality of Hokkaido” to create whisky that takes advantage of the terroir of those places is fascinating and the expectations are endless.

Lake Akkeshi and Bessanbeigi 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 Ohoro 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 whiskey of Akkeshi.

Reference: Official website of the Akkeshi Distillery

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

3. Product name and photo

Glen Muscle No.8 “Five Spirits” Akkeshi Blend

4. Characteristics

Fusion of Akkeshi malt and Islay malt
The malt ratio in the recipe is 8:2, with the most common constituent being Akkeshi distillery malt and Islay malt whiskey, with a relatively peated finish of perhaps 20-30 PPM.
The maltiness and soft sweetness of the Akkeshi malt in the base, the darker flavors of the sherry cask logs that connect the flavors from multiple types of casks, and the complexity from the Quercus cask. I think the fusion of different peat flavors also plays a part in the variety of flavors.
Reference: Glen Muscle No.8 “Five Spirits” Akkeshi Distillery Blended Whiskey|Kuririn’s Whisky Yard

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaFresh peaty aroma. A hint of tidal wave mixed with smokiness from the fire. Intense aromas of humus, bacon, sweetness and acidity with hints of oranges and young apples.
TasteThe mouthfeel is soft and full without feeling the alcohol content. Sweetness and citrus acidity from the malt and sherry barrels.
AftertasteGradually, burnt peatiness, iodine, and well-defined smoky flavors pass through the nostrils, and a high-toned stimulus lingers as a long aftertaste.

(Tasted by TEAM GLEN MUSCLE)

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol Content61% 
alcohol categoryBlended Whisky
Barrel typeBourbon barrels, sherry barrels, quercus barrels, etc.
Volume700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited to 300 bottles
Suggested retail price13,200 yen (tax included)
Release dateDecember 1, 2021

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameGlen Muscle No.8 “Five Spirits” Akkeshi Blend
Volume700ml
Suggested Retail PriceTax included: 13,200 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Currently, there seems to be no resale price on Mercari. (*As of December 7, 2021)

 

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auction

There are currently no items for sale on Yahoo Auction. (*As of  December 7, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

There seems to be no sales on mail-order sites at present. (*As of December 7, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At  “BAR SHINKAI” , which is operated by this site, we offer small quantities of 1 1 glass, 45ml: 3,960 yen 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 yen It is also available in small quantities, such as

7. Summary

From the moment I put it in my mouth, I could feel the taste of Akkeshi. After the roughness, the Scotch grain brings everything together nicely.

When water is added, the taste changes completely, and the gorgeous fruity flavor comes to the fore as if it has regained its composure. You can also feel the richness and flavor of the malt, which is as strong as it gets even with additional water.

The complex and deep flavor is a perfect description for this bottle.

This bottle is the fruit of the efforts of Glen Muscle members and those who participated in the recipe selection process.

 

Team Glen Muscle is a whisky brand that realizes “whisky that is not only delicious but also interesting and has a sharp appeal.

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

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

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

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whiskey and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

created by Rinker
¥1,320
(2022/06/27 01:21:38時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(2). Japanese Whisky 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.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whiskey and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

created by Rinker
¥786
(2022/06/27 04:16:59時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

created by Rinker
repicbook(リピックブック)株式会社
¥1,870
(2022/06/27 05:24:32時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(5). Whiskey 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 whisky can be found.

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