Akkeshi Distillery

Where There is Smoke: Rare Japanese Whiskies from a Cult Hokkaido Distillery

When distillation began here in 2016 Akkeshi was the first new Whisky distillery to open in Hokkaido for around 80 years. In a nutshell, the company’s founder, Keiichi Toita, has set out to recreate the quality and style of his beloved Islay malts, but in Japan. Based in the small fishing town of Akkeshi, the site was chosen due to its proximity to the sea and access to the clean pure water of the Homakai River. Here, Toita-san is has found environmental similarities to Islay in Scotland, and even the water used in the production has passed through a layer of peat.

Every element of the distillery’s equipment (including two pot stills by Forsyths), process and source ingredients has been selected to match Islay’s top distilleries.

Akkeshi’s first releases were modelled around a ‘New Born’ foundations concept, and was followed, in early 2000, by the first Akkeshi single malt: Sarorunkamuy. Now, we are within the midst of Akkeshi’s 24 Sekki series, which refers to Japan’s 24 divisions of the solar year. These releases vary in style and origin, and often mirror the personalities of the seasons they represent. We have seen blended and single malt Whiskies in this range, with both imported and Hokkaido stocks. All batches are extremely small, and every bottling is totally unique, although each carries Akkeshi’s signature briny freshness and always that element of peat. With older spirits now coming into play, Akkeshi will be one to watch.

Please note, all Akkeshi Whiskies are released on allocation. Please get in touch to find out more.

The Range

Akkeshi Taisho Blended Whisky
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Akkeshi Taisho Blended Whisky

48% ABV. Taisho is the 12th of the 24 Japanese solar terms. The hottest period of the year, this is a celebratory time with many festivals and fireworks. The indigo label is inspired by yukata, the light summer kimono worn during the warmer months. As always, the exact production details are difficult to pin down, but the key malt is 100% from Hokkaido aged in a variety of casks including mizunara and Bourbon, alongside imported grain purchased as new make and aged completely in-house (nine separate components contributed to the blend). This is signature Akkeshi, with fresh yet savoury/saline peatiness positioned at the forefront. A hot-blooded blend, this changes constantly in the glass and is best without water. Secondary notes of spun sugar and tropical fruit are joined by deep citrus, burnt sage and green almond notes in the mouth. It finishes spicy, salty and long.

This is signature Akkeshi, with fresh yet savoury/saline peatiness positioned at the forefront. A hot-blooded blend, this changes constantly in the glass and is best without water. Secondary notes of spun sugar and tropical fruit are joined by deep citrus, burnt sage and green almond notes in the mouth. It finishes spicy, salty and long.

Akkeshi Taisho Blended Whisky
Bibendum Bar
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Akkeshi Taisetsu Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Bibendum Bar
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Akkeshi Taisetsu Single Malt Japanese Whisky

55% ABV. The Japanese call the 21st of their 24 solar terms ‘Heavy Snow’, a time that captures the winter solstice and when bears retreat into hibernation—the inspiration for the label. This is one of the distillery’s lightest peated recent iterations, an exceptionally round and chocolaty dram. Collectors will see this as another indication that Akkeshi’s scientific approach to blending leaves no stone unturned and provides an exciting point of difference to the previous bottlings. On the nose, Akkeshi’s trademark peat notes sit behind complex sweet aromas of toffee, orange rind, cocoa butter and malted milk, with nuances of flax and lanolin. On the palate, it’s big and round, with explosive flavour. Pineapple and dried mango fruit flavours rise before chocolate and a waxing fresh tide of tarragon, mint and white pepper. Delicious.

On the nose, Akkeshi’s trademark peat notes sit behind complex sweet aromas of toffee, orange rind, cocoa butter and malted milk, with nuances of flax and lanolin. On the palate, it’s big and round, with explosive flavour. Pineapple and dried mango fruit flavours rise before chocolate and a waxing fresh tide of tarragon, mint and white pepper. Delicious.

Akkeshi Taisetsu Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Bibendum Bar
Added

Multiple awards at World Whiskies Awards and SF World Spirits Competition.

Country

Japan

Primary Region

Hokkaido

People

Keiichi Toita

Availability

National

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