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Akkeshi Single Malt Japanese Whisky Rittou

Article first published by our partner, Japanese Whisky Dictionary. Visit them here. Find the original article here.

 

 

Akkeshi Single Malt Japanese Whiskey Rittou, the fifth in the Akkeshi Whiskey 24-Season Series, is available at.

It has been three months since the last blended whiskey shosho was released.

・The first release, Single Malt Whisky Kanro, is scheduled for October 28, 2020. 
・The second release, blended whisky Usui February 28, 2021.
・The third release, single malt Japanese whisky Boushu, will be released on May 28, 2021.
・The fourth blended whisky Shosho, will be released on August 25, 2021.
・The fifth single malt Japanese whisky Rittou, will be released on November 25, 2021.

This 24-season series will be released in alternating single malt and blended versions, and this time it will be a single malt release.

The year is divided into 24 equal parts and the seasons are named after them.
Rittou is the time between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, when there are still many signs of autumn, but the weather is steadily changing into winter. It is the time of the year when we feel the first signs of winter and the weather is finally getting colder.

This is the nineteenth day of the twenty-fourth solar term, and together with Risshun, Rikka, and Risshu, it is called “Shiryu”. From this day to the day before Risshun is considered winter in the calendar. In 2021, the first day of winter will be November 7, and the next day of winter will be November 22, which is the 20th day of the 24th solar term.

The package and label designs of Akkeshi Whisky have been calm and austere, but this one is very colorful and pop. The main event during the first day of winter is “Shichi-Go-San,” so the motif of the design is Chitose Candy.

The key malt is “Hokkaido malt” which is very exciting.

 

The Bottle

Mainly sherry barrels, key malt is “Hokkaido malt raw material” aged in Quercus barrels.

The key malt is Mizunara oak barrel-aged Hokkaido malt raw material distilled in 2018, and other wine barrels (Pinot Noir) aged in malt raw material also from Hokkaido are used to bring out the mellow and rich flavor. The key malt (in this case, Mizunara oak barrels) plays an important role in creating the character of the whisky, even if it is only a small amount.

It has a gorgeous sweetness and a chocolatey sweetness that you would expect from a sherry cask. The acidity of the fruit is also detectable, and the flavors change one after another in the mouth. The peat is a bit subdued this time, but you can feel the thick peat in the aftertaste.

 

 

Aroma Floral, chocolate, orange
Taste Cacao, brown sugar, fresh fruit acidity, mellow, full and rich.
Aftertaste The sweetness is followed by a hint of peat that is characteristic of Akkeshi.

 

 

Alcohol content 55% alcohol by volume
Classification Single malt whisky
Barrel type Quercus, sherry, wine (Pinot Noir), etc.
Contents 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited quantity
Suggested retail price 19,800 yen (tax included)
Release date November 25, 2021

 

 

Our Take

The price increase of Akkeshi whiskey was recently announced in an official comment on the Facebook page of Akkeshi Distillery.

The price increase is 3,300 yen for single malt and 2,200 yen for blended. The price of single malt will be 3,300 yen and blended will be 2,200 yen.

I know there are pros and cons to this, but considering the passion of the Akkeshi Distillery for whiskey making, the passion for us consumers, and the hard work that goes into pursuing the perfect flavor, I feel that it is unavoidable. The taste of the whiskey has been surprising every time it is released, and this time, Rittou was commercialized using full sherry barrels from the Akkeshi distillery. There is no other whisky released by craft distilleries these days that is mainly made from sherry casks.

The next release will probably be in February or March. If so, the name might be “Risshun”, “Keichitsu”, or even the premium “Shunbun”. The next release will be a blended whisky, and I can’t wait to see if it will be called “Shunbun” or not.

The Akkeshi Distillery’s future plans include cultivating barley, the raw material for whiskey, in the Akkeshi region, and producing all of its whiskey, including peat and wooden barrels for aging, in the Akkeshi region, with the aim of creating an “Akkeshi All Star” whiskey in the future.

This year, too, it seems that the sowing of Akkeshi barley was successfully completed in mid-May. It seems that preparations are steadily underway for the “Akkeshi All Star”.

They are also stepping up their efforts to use Hokkaido barley (Furano and Nakashibetsu) as a raw material, and although the Hokkaido barley they tested in 2018 cost more than twice as much as the Scottish barley and had an alcohol yield of about 80-90%, the flavors were Japanese (warm tangerine, roasted chestnuts, dense roasted sweet potato). From 2019, they will be producing about 10% of their barley from Hokkaido.

If you want to know more about the Akkeshi Distillery, it was featured on BS Fuji’s Whiskipedia in December 2020, so be sure to check out that distribution.
The program is not only about the charm of Akkeshi whiskey, but also about the nature of Akkeshi town, the fishery centering on oyster fishing, and the marriage of whiskey and oysters from Akkeshi.

 

(All Images Courtesy of JPWhisky.net)

 

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