[Review] Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shoman

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Akkeshi Distillery

“Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shoman”, the 11th release in the Akkeshi Whisky “Twenty-Four solar terms Series” has been put on sale.

This is the first release in approximately three months since the last Single Malt Japanese Whisky Keichitsu was released.

The first release Single Malt Whisky Kanro Released on October 28, 2020
The second release Blended Whisky Usui Released on February 28, 2021
The third release Single Malt Japanese Whisky Boshu Released on May 28, 2021
The fourth release Blended Whisky Shosho Released on August 25, 2021
The fifth release  Single Malt Japanese Whisky Ritto Released on November 25, 2021
The sixth release Blended Whisky Daikan Released on February 25, 2022
The seventh release Single Malt Japanese Whisky Seimei Released on May 30, 2022
The eighth release Blended Whisky Taisho Released on August 26, 2022
The ninth release Single Malt Japanese Whisky Taisetsu Released on December 5, 2022
The tenth release Single Malt Japanese Whisky Keichitsu

Released on February 27, 2023

The eleventh release Blended Whisky Shoman

Released on May 31, 2023

The plan was to release the Twenty-Four solar terms series alternating between single malt and blended, but the last and previous series were single malt and this series will be blended.

The “Twenty-Four solar terms” are the 24 equal divisions of the year and are named to represent the seasons, such as “Risshun” and the “Geshi”.

“Shoman” is the eighth of the Twenty-Four solar terms and is the time of year when the weather is favorable, all things grow vigorously, and heaven and earth begin to be filled with life. The origin of the word “Shoman” is said to come from the word “small satisfaction” when one feels relieved after confirming that the ears of wheat and other crops sown in the fall have grown in order and borne fruit safely.


1. Manufacturer

Kenten Jitsugyo Co.

Established 1982
Head office Imperial Hotel Tokyo, 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011, Japan
Owned distillery Akkeshi Distillery

2. Distillery

Akkeshi Distillery

Address 109-2, Miyazono 4-chome, Akkeshi-cho, Akkeshi-gun, Hokkaido 088-1124, Japan
Start of operation October 2016

2015 Started construction of the distillery
2016 Started distilling in October
2017 Second maturation warehouse completed
2018 February: First product release as Akkeshi Distillery. Third maturation warehouse completed
2020 February: First single malt whisky “Sarorun Kamuy” is released.
    April: Fourth maturation warehouse completed
    October: First in the Twenty-Four solar terms Series “Single Malt Kanro” was released.
2021 Construction of new milling building (operation starts in 2022)

2023 April: Fifth maturation warehouse completed

The concept is “Whisky that inherits the traditional Scottish process and has a flavor unique to Akkeshi.”

Deep fog with tidal air, clear air, and abundant peat. We started distilling in 2016, believing that the climate of Akkeshi in Hokkaido will create the unknown Japanese whisky flavor we seek.
In order to make the most of the “terroir” of Hokkaido and Akkeshi in whisky making, we will continue to hone our skills in this region, and at the same time, we will continue to be more deeply in touch with the people and nature of the region. Barley and Quercus crispula grown in the land of Hokkaido, the beautiful water of Akkeshi, and peat containing abundant minerals. Our wish is to make everything from Hokkaido and deliver to the world a Japanese whisky that cannot be found anywhere else.

Reference: Blender’s Attention [Akkeshi Distillery]

With a strong desire to “make whisky like Islay malt using traditional Scottish methods,” equipment was installed by Forsyth’s of Scotland. All construction was carried out by Forsyth’s craftsmen visiting Japan. The pot stills are straight-headed and onion-shaped, similar to those at some distilleries on Islay. Heating is by radiator system, the attached condenser is a shell-and-tube type, and the mash tun is a semi-reuter type.
The fermentation tank (washback) is stainless steel and the temperature is purposely not adjustable. The craftsman determines the timing of fermentation while letting nature take its course.

The ripening rooms are currently from the first to the fifth ripening room. The first is a dunnage type, and the second (next to the filling building) is currently used to store products prior to shipment. The third to fifth maturing warehouses are rack type, and are located on a hill overlooking Akkeshi Bay, where “sea fog” with the scent of the sea envelops the entire town of Akkeshi and deepens the maturation of the malt, which is expected to have a positive effect on the characteristics of the whisky.

In addition to bourbon and sherry, hard-to-find “Quercus serrata” casks are used for maturation. Furthermore, we are challenging every possibility, such as matching with wine and rum casks.

In addition, the barley used to make the whisky is grown in Akkeshi, and everything is produced in Akkeshi, including the peat and wooden barrels used for aging, with the goal of creating an “Akkeshi All-Star” whisky in the future. As a new initiative, in August 2021, the distillery began experimentally maturing the distilled spirit at the Akkeshi Distillery in Furano. What kind of changes will be brought about by the sake matured in Furano? This is exactly what terroir is all about, taking advantage of the great individuality of “Hokkaido” as well as the locality of Akkeshi. The idea of “terroir,” which wine connoisseurs have probably heard a lot about, is incorporated into whisky, and the fusion of “the character of Akkeshi” and “the character of Hokkaido” to create whisky that makes use of the terroir of these lands is fascinating and the expectations are limitless.

Lake Akkeshi and Bekambeushi Marsh in the vicinity of Akkeshi Town are registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, adopted in Ramsar, Iran, on February 2, 1971, aims to conserve and make wise use of wetlands as habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife under international cooperation.

We, too, aim to be a distillery that protects and coexists with this rich natural environment.
The tap water used for whisky is taken from the Homakai River upstream of the Ohoro River, which runs near the distillery. The surrounding area is a marshland and a habitat for baikamo ducks, which are said to live only in clear water. The small white flowers that bloom in summer are a symbol of the abundant water. This water nurtures the whisky of Akkeshi.

Reference: Akkeshi Distillery official website

For more information about the Akkeshi Distillery, please see also here.↓


3. Product name and photo

Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shoman
Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shoman

4. Characteristics

Key malt is “Mizunara oak barrels of all Hokkaido whisky”.

The key malt is all Hokkaido Quercus crispula. This has become the standard for Akkeshi whisky.
The cask composition is a diverse blend of bourbon, sherry, wine, mizunara, and rum. It seems to be the most rum cask-intensive blend in the Twenty-Four Season series to date.
The fruity top aroma is followed by an oriental aroma like incense and a smoky aroma, and the round mouthfeel like honey and honey, citrus, herbs, and tidal flavors are typical of Akkeshi. The taste gradually changes after you take a sip, and you can feel the depth of the flavor. This is the ultimate in blending power.

Tasting notes

<Aroma> Yellow tropical fruits, charcoal, grilled sausage, bacon, pancake, maple, honey, pineapple, muscat, delaware.
<Taste> honey lemon, peat.
<Aftertaste> White pepper, citrus acidity, citrus sweetness, citrus peel

Reference: Akkeshi Distillery official Facebook

4-1. Tasting Note

Aroma Pineapple, going from oriental like incense to smoky
Taste Honey, mango jam, lemon peel, herbs
Aftertaste Fresh citrus acidity, tidal and spicy finish

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content 48%
Distinction by alcohol Blended whisky
Cask type Bourbon casks, sherry casks, wine casks, oak casks, rum casks
Content by volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited to 10,000 bottles
Suggested retail price 13,200 yen (tax included)
Release date May 31, 2023

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product name Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shoman
Capacity 700ml
Suggested Retail Price Including tax: 13,200 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

We could not confirm that the item is currently listed on Mercari. (*As of May 31, 2023)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

We could not confirm that the item is currently listed on Yahoo! Auctions. (*As of May 31, 2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

We were also unable to confirm that the item is currently available on each retail site. (*As of May 31, 2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer it in small quantities such as one glass, 45ml: 3,960 yen 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 yen.


7. Summary

The peat is a little stronger in this bottle, which gives the impression that it is easy to feel the peat peculiar to Akkeshi.
It has a complex aroma from fresh citrus to rich sweetness of honey and oriental aroma derived from Quercus crispus casks, and it will have a different expression as time goes by.
The next release of single malt whisky will probably be in August or September, around the time of Risshyu and Hakuro.

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


[Review] Akkeshi Single Malt Jap...
Japanese Whisky, Akkeshi Single Malt Japanese Whisky Taisetsu. The key malt in this release is also all Hokkaido Mizunar...


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 whisky 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

(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 whisky 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.

(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 whisky? 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.

(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 whisky 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.


Misato Ushiwata

Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
She attended a university in Tokyo, where she studied brewing and other sciences while translating articles for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

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