Brand: Yokaichi Mugi
Distillery: Takara Shuzo Co., Ltd.
Location: Takanabe, Miyazaki prefecture, Kyushu Island, Japan
Grain: 100% barley (mugi)
Alcohol: 25% (50 proof)
If iichiko silhouette
was not your introduction to Japanese shochu, then it was likelyYokaichi Mugi. This is another ubiquitous barley shochu, mass produced, though still in the honkaku (single distillation) style. The lovely parchment label belies the low, low price, undercutting even iichiko.
The first thing you notice, after the bottle, is the floral nose. A clean spring scent. Very subtle. As if the flowers have not yet quite fully bloomed. The next thing you notice is the sweetness. The sweetness carries through to a faintly herbal finish that give you a faint hint of green peppers (the kind we’re used to in the U.S., not the Japanese shishito peppers). Don’t let this pepper revelation put you off … it’s taken 4 years and innumerable bottles to place that flavor. It’s extremely subtle. Nothing to be afraid of.
The Verdict: Worth Drinking
Yokaichi Mugi is a fair amount sweeter than other mugis, it’s a popular choice for mixing or on the rocks. Or with water. Or neat. It’s a pretty flexible pour. Most of our drinking companions, when out at an izakaya, will trend toward iichiko or Yokaichi. Both provide a nice, easy night of drinking for a reasonable price. It’s a nice shochu to use to introduce the spirit to newcomers, though this might give them the wrong idea that shochu is a “sweet” alcohol. It can be, but not always.