Shochu...

Hee no Tori, the "Firebird", has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year. This bottle is likely the only bottle I'll ever have since it's not imported to the US and was made as an experiment by a sake brewery from a non-shochu making region of Japan. As a testament to how popular shochu has become, many sake breweries have been doing this. Read More...

Kuratake surprised me as soon as I opened the bottle. The rich sweet potato aroma and flavor I expect from imo shochus is largely absent from this spirit until you pay attention. It's got a subtle presence, but not the overwhelming sensation you'll get from a traditional Kagoshima style black koji imo shochu like Shiranami Kuro. This shochu takes the experience in a completely different direction. Read More...

Satsuma Hozan is the white koji sweet potato shochu from Nishi Shuzo, which also makes such premium products as Tomi No Hozan, Kiccho Hozan, and the ultra-premium Tenshi No Yuwaku. Besides these year round products, Nishi Shuzo also produces a line of seasonal limited edition sweet potato shochus including Ayamurasaki, Beniazuma, and Shiroyukata. Read More...

Several flavored shochus have entered the US market over the past several years, but these brands have taken two very different approaches to the American consumer. Read More...

Buckwheat, or soba shochu, is not particularly common in Japan and even less so in the US with only three available currently. Unkai is the most affordable of these and at just around $15 a bottle retail in New York City it is one of the most affordable honkaku (authentic) shochus available anywhere. Don't let the low price tag fool you. Unkai is an interesting, flavorful, and enjoyable shochu. Read More...

There's no better Valentine's Day shochu available in the U.S. than Tenshi No Yuwaku, which is translated as angel's temptation. This is a play on the idea of the angel's share, the part of a barrel aged spirit that evaporates "to heaven" ... In this case, the spirit is so good even the angel's are tempted. The Botticelli cupid on the label only makes it more sweet in its appeal to our romantic side. Read More...

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