shinozaki
After two days packed with 8 distillery tours in Kumamoto and a big night out in Fukuoka with the distillers to wrap it all up, it was time to shift gears. Matsuda-san from Sengetsu Shuzo, who lives in Fukuoka, picked me up at my hotel for an hour's drive into the Fukuoka countryside to visit Shinozaki Shuzo, a barley shochu distillery and sake brewery. Read More...
fukano hanatare
We drove about 45 minutes on rural roads to Toyonaga Shuzo, which makes Toyonaga, available in the US market. This was the first rice shochu that made me realize what kumajochu was. It's dry, crisp, and has surprising character for something so clean. Toyonaga-san was very glad to meet us and once he learned I liked joatsu muroka shochus he broke out a bottle of Jigaden, which immediately set a new standard for what a rice shochu could be. Read More...
sengetsu toji
Waking up at 7:30am for an 8am pick-up left us with no time for breakfast before our drive to Kumamoto's Hitoyoshi, home of 28 rice shochu distillers that collectively make "kumajochu", the WTO Appellation of Origin that can only be given to rice shochus that are made with local spring water and that are fermented, distilled, and bottled in the Hitoyoshi area. Read More...
RyuSui
After landing in Tokyo, I had kakiage soba (soba with fried seafood – crab and shrimp) and a draft beer. The perfect end to that long flight. After a 3 hour layover in Tokyo, I boarded a plane to Fukuoka, arriving at 9:45pm local time. Read More...
JAL
Last summer I spent 5 days in Kyushu and 5 more in Okinawa, trying more than 200 shochus and Awamori in a very short span of time. That was just a taste of what's to come. I'm now headed to Kyushu for the prime imo shochu production season. Read More...
Hombo Shuzo
The English language has hundreds of words to describe colors. Japanese has just a few. Contrarily, Japanese has hundreds of words to describe taste or aromas while English has relatively few. This reflects a profound cultural difference in which senses dominate the human experience. Westerners tend to concentrate very much on visual stimuli and rely less on aroma and taste in making decisions. On the contrary, Japanese culture is essentially obsessed with the aromas, tastes, and textures of food. Read More...

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