Ikkomon Imo Shochu
Somehow Hide Chan Ramen on 52nd Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues in Manhattan only gets 3 Yelp stars. Yet this sister to Totto Ramen has the single best bowl of ramen I’ve ever had in my life … scallion ramen with buta kakuni (marinated pork belly). And even better, they have 4 different shochus available. I had the Ikkomon honkaku imo shochu. This Earthy imo went very well with scallion ramen. The oyuwari shochu in the stone glass (pictured) was a very relaxing finish to a very long work-day.… Read More...
Ryukyu Label
This Awamori is a fine example of the spirit. It has a strong herbal nose that is very rich on the palate. The strong herbal flavor subsides into a moderate licorice or anise flavor before settling into a smooth neutral finish. It has a warm, earthy mouthfeel that’s not at all unexpected from the herbal scent. It’s hard to place the taste beyond herbal, except that it tastes quite a bit like a lighter version of the Taiwanese & Chinese spirit, Kaoliang, a sorghum spirit that’s a much higher alcohol content than most Awamori. Read More...
Bunzo Kome Shochu
Bunzo Kome is a polished rice shochu, which, as with other shochus of this style, results in a sweet, mellow drink. There is a light, neutral, slightly alcoholic nose – not much going on at all with the scent of this shochu. The flavor is a sweet first impression, not unlike some sake, and that’s followed by more sweetness – a mellow sweetness. Not quite sugar, but not molasses or honey either. Read More...
Shiranami Kurokoji
Shiranami Korukoji, which is roughly translated black/white wave, is an affordable, flavorful, balanced sweet potato shochu. This shochu is made with kogane sengan sweet potatoes, always fresh, never frozen. They take pride in their product, yet manage to keep this honkaku (single distilled) shochu on the lower end of the price range. The black koji gives the drink a deeper flavor than expected. Read More...
Gankutsuoh
  Brand: Gankutsuoh (巌窟王) Distillery: Takara Shuzo Co., Ltd. Location:  Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu Island, Japan Grain: 100% polished (to 55%) Japonica rice koji: unknown alcohol content: 25% price: $$$   Tasting Notes Gankutsuoh is an aged rice shochu, but not in the Awamori style. It uses Japanese rather than Thai rice, polished just as rice is polished in sake production. Once processed and placed into clay jars, this shochu is stored in a cave to age. This gives us its unique name, which means “Cave King” … incidentally it’s very close to the Japanese translation for The Count of Monte Cristo Read More...
Zuisen Hakuryu Awamori
Zuisen is perhaps the largest distiller of Awamori in Okinawa. This Hakuryu represents their entry level Awamori, though they have domestic varieties that are aged at more than 20 years. Like all Awamori, this represents a full flavored shochu with a great deal of complexity. These spirits are difficult to place flavor-wise and the only that I was able to distinguish clearly from Zuisen was a molasses palate. Unlike other Awamori I’ve had this one is quite balanced. I wouldn’t necessarily call it smooth, but it is mellow for the style. Read More...

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