Satsuma Shiranami

Brand: Satsuma Shiranami

Distillery: Satsuma Shuzo Co, Ltd.

Location: Makurazaki-shi, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu Island, Japan

Grain: kogane sengan sweet potato (imo)

Koji: white (shiro)

Distillation: normal pressure (joatsu)

Alcohol: 24% (48 proof)

Price: $$


Tasting Notes

It is difficult to differentiate the experience of drinking sweet potato shochu from drinking Satsuma Shiranami. This may be the definitive flavor profile for an authentic Kagoshima imo shochu. While white koji is used to mellow out the flavor, normal pressure distillation brings out everything it can from the kogane sengan sweet potatoes. Kogane sengan are large yellowish potatoes and the most common potato used in imo shochu production. Satsuma Shuzo uses only fresh potatoes, never frozen, assuring the richest, freshest flavor they can deliver.

Beginning with the classic label evoking waves crashing on the beach (shiranami means “white wave”), this shochu promises a wild ride. The initial nose has the distinctive note of roasted grains and sweet potato. This is not the earthy nose you’ll find with other imo shochus, but another common aroma associated with the style. The taste hits with very slight hints of black pepper and a luscious sweetness as the  rich spirit covers the palate, leaving a warm buttery mouth feel and a crisp dry finish.


The Verdict: Highly Recommended

More than any other sweet potato shochu, Satsuma Shiranami tastes like we expect sweet potato shochu to taste. With rounder and fuller flavor than some others, Shiranami is also lighter and more easily accessible than it’s sister brand, Shiranami Kurokoji. This can be enjoyed on the rocks, but the nicest flavor profile really seems to emerge with a 7:3 shochu cold water mix. Regardless, this is a delicious and reasonably priced option for those seeking sweet potato shochu.




3 Responses to “Satsuma Shiranami”
  1. This is a delightful imo shochu packaged in an attractive 750ml bottle for a reasonable price. Very round, full-bodied, and mellow. The nose is pleasant and rich. I typically drink shochu on the rocks in the evening. Personally I am not as adventurous nor as experimental a shochu/awamori professional as Stephen Lyman and Christopher Pelligrini; I rarely go oyuwari or mizuwari. I am an ASP Advanced Sake Professional certified in February 2014 in Shimbashi (Sensei Gauntner’s Sake Education Council). After only 57 kinds of Shochu-Awamori to date I still consider myself a beginner/intermediate in this area. I do recommend this shochu. Kampai and happy sampling.

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