[REVIEW]AKKESHI New Born Foundation 1

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 enthusiast, you are naturally familiar with this distillery.

As of now (1/3/2019), the AKKESHI Distillery has released two types of products.

Normally, 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 minimum aging period for each manufacturer is 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, we would like to introduce « AKKESHI NEW BORN FOUNDATIONS 1 » which was released in February 2018.

1. Manufacturer.

Kenten Jitsugyo Co.

EstablishmentEstablished in 1982
Headquarters location 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, 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. First release of the 24 Seasons series. Completion of the fourth maturation cellar.

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 whisky 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 flavoring whisky, 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 that 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 aging rooms, an innovative rack-type aging room was completed in February 2018. The aging room is located right next to the AKKESHI Bay. 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. Furthermore, we are challenging all possibilities such as matching with wine and rum barrels.

Lake AKKESHI and Bessanbeigi Marsh 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 the AKKESHI.

Reference: AKKESHI Distillery official website

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

3. Product names and photos

Akkeshi Newborn Foundations 1 

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4. Features

Bathed in non-peated malt aged in bourbon barrels for 5 to 14 months

The first release of « AKKESHI NEW BORN FOUNDATIONS », which will be released in a series of four, is made by batting non-peated malt barrels 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.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaSweet aroma of lemon, nuts, and honey
TasteCitrusy acidity and a rich sweetness.
AftertasteVanilla-like sweetness and coffee-like bitterness.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content60% alcohol by volume
By liquorSingle malt
Barrel typeBourbon barrels, etc.
Contents200ml
Number of bottles soldNumber of bottles sold
Suggested retail price3,630 yen (tax included)
Release dateFebruary 27, 2018

5. Award history

This is an unprecedented accomplishment for a whiskey in its maturation stage.
It received a high score of 88.5 out of 100 points in Jim Murray’s « Whisky Bible 2019 ».

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product NameAkkeshi Newborn Foundation 1
Capacity200ml
Suggested retail priceTax included: 3,630 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 16,000 yen to 20,000 yen(*As of April 19, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The current price on Yahoo Auction is 16,500 yen at the lowest, 25,000 yen at the highest, and 23,187 yen at the average (*as of April 19, 2021).
At the time of its release, it was priced between 7,500 yen and 12,000 yen, a premium of about three times the list price, and now the price is even higher.
I think this is due to the fact that the Akkeshi Distillery’s passion and commitment to whiskey making has been recognized and appreciated.

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is sold at mail-order sites for around 30,000 yen to 40,000 yen (*As of April 19, 2021)

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6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At BAR SHINKAI, which is operated by our website, we offer even a small amount, such as 1 glass, 45ml: 4,950 yen 30ml: 3,300 yen, 15ml: 1,650 yen 

7. Summary

As the author is from Hokkaido, this is a whisky with which I have a very strong personal attachment.
The other day, I had a chance to talk with Mr. Keiichi Hida, the president of Kenen Jitsugyo, and I asked him 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 materials used to build his distillery in order to create a delicious Islay malt like Ardbeg. I’m very happy to have met him.
I can’t wait for the official release in 2020, but after that, the third and fourth in the New Born series will be released in 2019, so whisky lovers, don’t miss it! Don’t miss it!

Please check out our other articles on the Akkeshi Distillery.

Enfin : Livres recommandés sur le whisky japonais

Si vous voulez en savoir plus sur le whisky japonais, qui est une tendance mondiale, nous vous recommandons vivement ces livres.

(1). Le whisky japonais, un enseignement pour les affaires

Il s’agit d’un livre écrit par Mamoru Tsuchiya, critique de whisky de renommée mondiale et représentant de l’Institut de recherche sur la culture du whisky, intitulé  » Le whisky japonais comme une culture qui fonctionne pour les affaires « 
Ce livre aborde les bases du whisky, l’introduction du whisky au Japon, la naissance du whisky japonais, les stratégies publicitaires et l’essor du whisky japonais, ainsi que l’essor actuel des distilleries artisanales. C’est un livre qui résume le whisky japonais d’une manière très facile à comprendre.

(2). Le whisky et moi (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, le fondateur de Nikka Whisky, a consacré sa vie à la fabrication du whisky au Japon. Il s’agit d’une version révisée et réimprimée de l’autobiographie d’un homme qui aimait simplement le whisky et parlait de lui. Le livre dépeint de manière vivante l’époque où, jeune homme, il est parti seul en Écosse pour étudier et a surmonté de nombreuses épreuves pour achever le whisky japonais, ainsi que sa compagne, Rita.

created by Rinker
¥392
(2021/12/03 14:02:43時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(3). Une lettre de défi d’une distillerie de nouvelle génération

Lancement en 2019. Alors que le monde connaît un boom sans précédent du whisky, à quoi pensaient les dirigeants de distilleries artisanales en relevant le défi de fabriquer du whisky ? Ce livre raconte l’histoire de 13 propriétaires de distilleries artisanales, dont Ichiro Akuto de Venture Whiskey, célèbre pour son malt Ichirose, qui a inspiré la naissance des distilleries artisanales au Japon.

created by Rinker
repicbook(リピックブック)株式会社
¥1,870
(2021/12/03 14:02:44時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(4). Whiskey Rising

Il s’agit de la version japonaise de Whisky Risng, publié aux États-Unis en 2016, avec un contenu très actualisé. Non seulement il décrit en détail l’histoire du whisky japonais, mais il inclut également des données sur toutes les distilleries du Japon, y compris les distilleries artisanales qui ont été fondées ces dernières années. Le livre comprend également des descriptions des bouteilles légendaires qui sont sorties, ainsi que des informations sur les bars où l’on peut trouver du whisky japonais.

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