I’m beginning my exploration of “The Thee M’s” with Maou. For those unfamiliar, the 3 M’s are the 3 most famous shochu brands in Japan. They are, Maou, Mori Izo, and Muraou, and I’m going to tackle them in this order.
Distillery: Kitaya Co, Ltd.
Location: Yame-Shi, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu Island, Japan
Grain: 83% sweet potato & 17% Japonica rice
Alcohol: 25% (50 proof)
Jinkoo, which means “perfect sky”, is a rich, lush imo shochu that has long been available on Japan Airlines (JAL) flights, at least for business class travelers. Which came first? The name or the JAL contract? This imo is distilled from Satsuma sweet potatoes from the Kagoshima Prefecture at the south end of Kyushu Island (Fukuoka is in the north of the island).
The nose of this imo, while still earthy, promises a sweetness that’s immediately delivered onto the palate. The rich flavor has a buttery mouth feel, which is both surprising and decadent. The sweetness subsides into a pleasant herbal finish that lingers with a faintly minty clean freshness.
The Verdict: Highly Recommended
The golden label evokes the rich flavor of this robust imo. While pricey, it does not disappoint. The combination of sweet and herbal flavors along with the buttery texture gives this shochu a unique place among imo. I’m looking forward to my next JAL flight. Maybe I can sneak a nip out of first class.