Ginza no Suzume Kohaku

Ginza No Suzume KohakuBrand: Ginza no Suzume Kohaku

Distillery: Yatsushika Sake Brewery, Co. Ltd.

Location:  Kusu, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan

Grain: 100% mugi (barley)

Koji: white (shiro)

Distillation: vacuum still (genatsu)

Alcohol: 24%

Price: $$$


Tasting Notes

Ginza is best known as a popular neighborhood in Tokyo so the name of this shochu could be misleading, suggesting a trendy product that’s more commercial than it is quality. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Ginza is an aged shochu from a distillery in a remote village on Kyushu Island that has been producing sake since 1864.

Ginza no Suzume Kohaku may be the first shochu I tried that showed just how diverse and complex this style of spirit can be. Ginza is a barley shochu, much like iichiko, which I consider a super easy drinking, mild, tasty starter-shochu, yet the two couldn’t be more different.

Kohaku is aged in repurposed American white oak bourbon barrels. This gives the shochu its golden tint and oaked, smokey nose and taste. On the palette it starts with the strangely oaken, earthy flavor that transforms into a sweet caramel. The finish is reminiscent of mint, as if you’ve just finished a piece of chewing gum. Overall it tastes remarkably like a very light whiskey thanks to the aging.


The Verdict: Recommended

This is an exceptionally flavorful shochu. Great complexity, interesting nose, lovely finish. I really don’t have any substantive complaints except perhaps that if I wanted to drink whiskey, I’d drink whiskey, but I guess that’s not entirely true, because I’ve had this bottle more than once.





4 Responses to “Ginza no Suzume Kohaku”
  1. Maikeru says:

    This stuff is so amazingly good. Hats off to the creators of this most refreshing beverage! Cheers.

  2. All three of the すずめ本格麦焼酎 are very good, very smooth and refreshing. I am mainly a 日本酒 (saké) man. However, I also enjoy shochu 焼酎 and awamori 泡盛. The white label (Suzume) I believe is 20% ABV. (alcohol by volumn). The black label is 24% ABV. This one is age, 24% ABV and tastes the most like a whisky. Give them all a try. See which one you prefer.
    LaMonte Heflick, ASP Saké Education Council Feb 2014.

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