Akkeshi "USUI" "Rain Water" 2021 Limited Release Single Malt Japanese Whisky
The Akkeshi Usui blend which serves as the 2nd season in the distillery's series of 24 Sekki, Japan's distinctive cycle of seasons.
The Usui or "Rain water" is a blend of malt and grain, with more than half of the spirit malt from Akkeshi and the rest imported aged grain spirit.
According to a label translation, "The sweet and fragrant peat of Akkeshi malt combined with the lightness of the grain makes it gorgeous and never gets tired of drinking."
Akkeshi began distilling in 2016 amongst a swathe of “new” Japanese distilleries. Based in the Akkeshi District of Hokkaido, the concept of distilling and maturing single malt in Japan’s northern wilderness traces back to the very first plans of Masataka Taketsuru, a pioneer of the country’s early whisky production.
Indeed, the distillery is inspired by the heavier styles of Scotch whisky, particularly those from Islay. It is owned by Kenten Co, an import-export company and President Keichi Toita is a long-time whisky aficionado and lover. He was behind the distillery’s location and style and give that the distillery is wholly backed by Kenten, they don’t have to answer to any outside parties.
Akkeshi features a pair of pot stills from Forsyths, a 5,000 litre wash still and 3,600 litre spirit still. They are steam heated and feature declining lyne arms into shell-and-tube condensers. To the eye they are very Islay-esque.
They have two warehouses at the distillery site and two closer to the sea so that they can see the differences in the maturation environments.
Their first 'Foundation' spirit releases appeared throughout 2018 and 2019 before the first single malt - Sarorunkamuy - was released in 2020.