Shakotan Spirit "shipboard aging" experiment
Gin distillery operator “Shakotan Spirit” in Shakotan, Central Hokkaido loaded 12 bottles of its craft gin onto the underwater observation boat “New Shakotan” and conducted a shipboard aging verification experiment for approximately half of a year to test whether or not the swaying of the ship changed the flavor of the alcohol. The alcohol met with the positive feedback that it has, “matured into a mellow flavor,” and Shakotan Spirit plans to enlist cooperation from ship operator Shakotan Tourism Promotion Public Corporation and industrial economy organizations in the town to perform a double-pronged test of shipboard aging along with “ocean floor aging”, in which alcohol is lowered into the ocean waters of Shakotan.
The idea for this project originated in a memory from Shakotan Tourism Promotion Director Sato’s past. The Director reports that around 40 years ago, a fisherman on a squid fishing boat that had come from Aomori brought out a bottle of Japanese sake and said, “The swaying of the ship makes this taste good.” Sato tried it a bit dubiously, but found that it did taste good.
After hearing this story, “Shakotan Spirit” Representative Director Iwai, with the aid of Shakotan Tourism Promotion, loaded gin onto a boat and performed a shipboard aging experiment from April 10 to October 1. Some of the shipboard aged gin was opened on October 3. After taste sampling with Hokkaido bar owners, it garnered feedback that, “The gin edge has been curbed, making it mellow. The mouth sensation is better.”
In addition to conducting more shipboard aging next year, there are also plans to raise money from crowdfunding to lower alcohol into the sea water for ocean floor aging. Ocean floor aging will be spearheaded by the “Shakotan Town Regional Revitalization Council”, which is composed of industrial economy organizations in Shakotan. With aid from ocean floor aging company “Hokkaido Ocean Aging” (Sapporo), the plan includes the aging of craft gin, Japanese sake, and other beverages. Representative Director Iwai expressed his desire that, “The two-pronged approach of shipboard aging and ocean floor aging will hopefully help energize the region.”
Observation boat "New Shakotan"
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