Brand: Kikaijima Kurochu (喜界島 くろちゅう)
Distillery: Kikaijima Shuzo Co, Ltd.
Location: Kikaijima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Grain: black sugar (kokuto)
Koji: black (kuro)
Alcohol: 25% (50 proof)
Kikaijima is a small island just north of Okinawa. This is as close as you can get to Awamori country without making Awamori. As such, Kikaijima Kurochu, or “Kikai Island Black Kiss” is an aged black sugar, black koji shochu with all of the rich characteristics you’d expect from the southern islands.
A rich, molasses nose promises a sweet, full flavored kokuto shochu and wow does it deliver. A chewy sugary buttered palate subsides into the luscious, unmistakable taste of black sugar. Other black sugar shochus (those sold in the U.S.) tend to be relatively neutral – faintly sweet, but mild. Kikaijima is a much less delicate lass. She plants that promised kiss right on your mouth and doesn’t let go until she’s good and ready. And just like any good kiss, she leaves you wanting more.
The Verdict: Exceptional
Kikaijima is a stupendously delicious black sugar shochu. Unfortunately, this is a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) bottle. It’s apparently sold in Australia and Germany, but not available in the U.S. And this bottle, a gift from a friend, is almost empty. I hope there’s another kiss in my future.