Black Sugar Jougo

Jougo Kokuto ShochuBrand: Jougo (じょうご)

Distillery: Amami-Oshima Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Location: Amami-shi, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan

Grain: 60% kokuto (black sugar) & 40% rice

kojii: white

alcohol content: 24%

price: $$


Tasting Notes

Jougo was my first introduction to “black sugar” shochu. Black sugar is a richer, darker Asian version of western brown sugar. It contains molasses and sugar cane. And it’s delicious. If you can find black sugar in your local Asian market, pick some up and experiment with it as a replacement for other sweeteners.

Jougo is smooth, sweet, and rounded. It lacks the complexity of many other shochus, but it’s easy drinking. It’s not as sweet as you’d expect from something distilled from a sugar, which is probably due to the spring water added at the end of the distillation process.

I can usually taste a few different flavors throughout a sip of shochu. I can’t always place the flavors, but I do detect distinct tastes. With Jougo there is very little nose and just a faint hint of molasses on the tongue before retreating to a lightly sugared sweetness. Given the simplicity of Jougo‘s pallette, I don’t mind drinking it neat, which is not my usual style. It is very nice with slightly chilled water as well.



The Verdict

In my experience, black sugar shochus tend to lack the complexity of the imoawamori, or even mugi shochus, but they are delicious nonetheless. When I’m in the mood to drink without an adventure, I’ll often choose a black sugar bottle and Jougo is definitely the most common, at least in New York City.

(apparently flies like it too – one ended up in my glass as I was writing this)






3 Responses to “Black Sugar Jougo”
  1. Jougo is a pleasant, smooth, very drinkable shochu. I found it to be mildly sweet, smooth, and without the heavy earthiness of imo and soba shochu. I typically drink sake. And only a few of my friends share my interest. For those folks new to or even somewhat shy when it comes to shochu, I recommend Jougo. On the rocks it shouldn’t turn away the novice. It is a good introduction to the World of Shochu. I find it a nice contrast to my more regular 焼酎 brews, imo and mugi. Give this one a try!
    -LaMonte Heflick, ASP Sake Education Council Feb 2014.

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