Akkeshi New Born "Foundations 1"
Akkeshi New Born "Foundations 1", NAS, 60 %
Akkeshi is a new distillery established in 2016, on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. It is owned by Kenten Co. Ltd. They have pot stills made by Forsyths, a 5000 litre wash still and a 3 600 litre spirit still. They have been referred to as Japans Islay-esque distillery. No whisky has been released by Akkeshi as yet, but they are getting close. In the meantime we get to try this young malt product. Well, actually you can call this a whisky in Japan, even if it is less than 3 years old. Akkeshi seem to be following the Scotch regulations, much like the other well-known Japanese whisky producers like Chichibu, Nikka, Suntory etc.
The Akkeshi New Born "Foundations 1" is a vatted blend of non-peated malts matured for 5-14 months in bourbon casks. It was bottled in January 2018, and released on February 9, in a limited run of 10 000 bottles (200 ml each). The retail price was JPY 3300 on release, and as expected it is already selling at more than double that.
Nose: Malty and rich is the immediate verdict. This is positively approachable for such a high ABV and young age. Lots of cereal notes, and quite newmake-y in character. It is very robust and with a few minutes in the glass it is also rather fruity. Vanilla and mustard seeds with time.
Taste: Rich and rough. It packs a punch, and I have to admit that was expected. It is a good punch though, I turn the other cheek straight away. Pepper, mild ginger, vanilla, ripe apples, rich malt.
Finish: Short finish, but who cares. Chewy and rich for as long as it lasts.
Comments: Yay! I now have another reason to re-visit Hokkaido. I want to see Yoichi again, as well as Sapporo, my friend Junya Honma at the fantastic Bow Bar, and now the Akkeshi Distillery. Who's with me?
Sláinte! - Thomas