Only three more sleeps ’til Christmas and that means we have three more superb Japanese Whisky releases for 2020 to look at before Santa finally arrives. Today, we’re looking at another excellent release from the Akkeshi distillery. Despite being relatively new on the scene, they have impressed us with their well-rounded, moreish expressions and for that reason they’re the only distillery with two expressions in our Christmas Countdown. High praise indeed.
Of course, having already looked at the Kanro, that leaves us with the only other single malt released by Akkeshi thus far – The Sarorunkamuy.
This fine whisky was the distillery’s first single malt, released back in early-March, which feels like a lifetime ago now. It brings many parts of the new-make New Born Foundations series together to create a well-rounded, elegant and flavoursome whisky.
Titled “Akkeshi Sarorunkamuy”, translating as “Japanese red crowned crane”, an animal synonymous with the meaning “God of the Wetlands”, it’s made from whisky distilled in 2016 and matured in bourbon, red wine, sherry and Mizunara casks.
Nothing excites me more than trying new Japanese whisky expressions, particularly ones from the new, up and coming distilleries dotted around the country, and so I was delighted to finally get my hands on this one and the experience has stuck with me ever since.
On the nose, it brings a wealth of fruity notes, including red berries, poached plums and gentle citrus notes that gradually come through in the background. Gentle wood spices and essence of vanilla also make themselves known as you continue to nose and a sprinkling of sea salt helps to cut through the fruity sweetness.
The palate brings yet more fruity notes, but here you’ll also find subtle spices building in the background, including gentle black pepper and hints of sandalwood from the Mizunara cask.
Then comes the lingering finish, that is medium length and brings more spices to the table, with cinnamon, gentle nutmeg and a little more pepper being backed up by just a whiff of peat smoke and another pinch of sea salt.
It’s a fascinating, well-rounded whisky that comes packaged inside the uniquely shaped bottle, with the long neck and stubby cylindrical base, that has become something of a signature for the distillery’s releases. They look incredible in your whisky cabinet and really stand out among the crowd with their minimalist, but elegant, label designs, and the fact that they hold quality spirit inside only adds to their appeal.
The fact that they managed to get it so right with their first single malt was an exciting sign for avid whisky drinkers like you and me, and given they followed it up with the delicious Kanro, it’s safe to say the hype surrounding Akkeshi is very real and very warranted.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a superb new release from one of Japan’s oldest whisky producers.