Shochu Reviews...

kumesen
Kumesen was our first Awamori. We'd read about these unique Okinawan spirits and were drawn to the artfully drawn lion-god on the stout bottle. As our first, it still stands up as what we expect from the style, though we've come to learn that Awamori can be as diverse and complex as single malt scotch. There is no one flavor that captures the essence of these full bodied, traditionally distilled spirits. Read More...

isanishiki
Kuro Isanishki has the unmistakable earthy nose of an imo shochu. This yields to a buttery soft mouthfeel. Surprisingly supple given what's in store otherwise. An extremely light sweetness yields to a very dry, tight finish. The dryness would overwhelm except the soft mouth provides enough mellowness to create an interesting contrast. Read More...

tsukushi shiro
Tsukushi Shiro is one of four premium mugi shochus now being imported to the U.S. from Nishyoshida Shuzo. Tsukushi Shiro is also the most smooth, mellow, and easy drinking of the four thanks in no part to the low pressure distillation that sets it apart from its counterparts. All are made with black koji and local barley, but only Tsukushi Shiro is made using modern pressurized distillation techniques. Read More...

Shiroku-no-gon
Part of what's fascinating about exploring shochu is that each distiller has their own approach to reaching flavor. The general rule is that if you want a smooth, mellow shochu you look for a shochu made with low pressure distillation and white koji. That combination is going to give you a very mellow shochu no matter what base grain is used. Conversely, a black koji and atmospheric distillation shochu is going to maximize flavors, create all sorts of complexity that many drinkers either love or hate. Where things start to get very interesting are in the middle. Read More...

Date Shochu
By "the date shochu" we don't mean a shochu that's good to drink when you're on a date, though that may be true as well. We mean a shochu made from dates. In fact, Tenpo is the only shochu made from dates. That puts it pretty far afield from the usual shochu grains - sweet potato, barley, or rice. It's also one of the only genshu (undiluted) shochus available in the U.S. As expected, the 36% alcohol is much more present than with diluted shochus. Further complicating this already interesting shochu is the aging process. Read More...

Kakushigura
Oak barrel aging has become a popular process as shochu producers experiment with different aging techniques to give their shochus unique flavor profiles. Kannoko and Ginza no Suzume Kohaku have full flavored profiles thanks to this aging process and are popular mugi shochus, particularly among whiskey drinkers. Kakushigura uses this process as well, but with a slightly different approach. Read More...

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