Posts tagged with "barley"

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Kagura Tensho is the first 3 grain shochu we’ve reviewed. Barley and rice shochus tend to rely on the single grain while imo (sweet potato) shochus combine with rice or more rarely with barley to balance the robust earthiness of the sweet potatoes. However, this is the first shochu we’ve found that uses three different grains. The usual suspects, rice and barley, are joined with soba, or buckwheat, a heartier grain used in making soba noodles. Read More...

Shochu Aisle at Mitsuwa
  Vast shochu selection at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ. Easily the largest shochu selection I’ve seen outside of Japan. Really impressive selection. What to choose?! I came home with: Gyokuro – a green tea shochu ($28.99) Jinkoo – a mugi (barley) shochu from the same distiller ($28.99) Kagemusha – an imo (sweet potato) shochu ($19.99) Akanone Ninjin – a carrot shochu ($34.99) Toki No Kokuin – a rice shochu ($24.99) Enma – a mugi shochu ($29.99) Akamaoh – an imo shochu ($24.99) This represents just a small portion of their selection. I see many, many trips back to Mitsuwa… Read More...

Ginza No Suzume Kohaku
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. Ginza is aged in repurposed American white oak bourbon barrels. This gives the shochu its yellowish tint and oaky, smokey nose and taste. On the pallette it starts with the strangely oaken, earthy flavor that transforms into a sweet caramel. Read More...

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I’m sure many of you are familiar with the iconic line from Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, “It’s Suntory Time” as the disenchanted movie star tries to sell Japanese whisky. For many Westerners this was our first exposure to Suntory as a brand. They sell everything from bottled water to iced tea to whiskey to vitamins to shochu. I’ve tried several of their whiskys and enjoyed all of them so I was excited when I saw their shochu available in the U.S. Read More...

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This iichiko silhouette is probably the most common Japanese shochu currently available in the United States. In NYC I’ve seen it in random mom & pop liquor stores as the only shochu among a shelf of sake options. It’s most commonly available in 750ml bottles, though I’ve seen other sizes in other countries. This is a great starter shochu, which is why I’ve chosen it for my first tasting note. It was my introduction to shochu back in 2008. I’d had Korean soju before, but Japanese shochu is a strikingly different (and better) experience. Read More...

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