mugi (barley)

Mugi shochus tend to be among the most popular shochu styles in the United States. The smooth, balanced flavor is pleasant and easily drinkable. It’s good for mixing into cocktails or drinking on the rocks. Some barley shochus can be more flavorful, but many are just easy drinking.

When we first began exploring shochu a few years ago, our first introduction was iichiko silhouette, which was also the first shochu we reviewed for this site (out of nostalgia).

Without further explanation (see individual notes below), here are our compiled Mugi reviews. Things are a little sparse so far, but we’ve got much more to come!





Kintaro A roasted barley shochu with depth and breadth and a beautiful nose.

Nakanaka A full bodied barley shochu with pleasant aromas and flavors of chocolate.

Tenpai An aromatic, richly flavored mugi aged in ceramic jars. Nutty, yeasty with hints of macadamia nuts and vanilla.

Yamanomori Rich, earthy, full bodied traditionally distilled mugi shochu.



Kougin No Sasayaki A high-proof barley shochu with light, round flavors.

Mizunomai A high proof barley shochu that’s richly complex with lovely packaging.

Tsukushi Kuro A full bodied 100% mugi shochu. Delicate roasted flavors.

Tsukushi Shiro A full bodied mugi aged in ceramic pots that remains surprisingly drinkable despite the robust flavors.

Window’s Migaki A barley shochu aged in virgin oak barrels. Delicious.



Daigano Ideki A light whiskey barrel aged mugi with hints of tree sap and molasses.

Ginza no Suzume Kohaku  A complex mugi, aged in bourbon barrels. Delicious!

iichiko silhouette Still one of our favorites. We may be biased, but we think this is the perfect starter shochu.

Kakushigura An oak aged mugi with a drier, woodier flavor profile than the other barrel aged mugi shochus.

Kannoko An oaked mugi aged 3 years. Should be a favorite among whiskey drinkers.



Akaoni A straightforward mugi. Sweet, mellow, refreshing.

iichiko seirin An even lighter version of silhouette with just 20% ABV.

Ginza No Suzume Kuro Koji A full flavored black koji barley shochu. Not for the faint of heart.

Tombo A full flavored mugi at a korui shochu price. Globalization comes to shochu production.

Yokaichi Mugi A smooth, drinkable mugi. No surprises. One of the best bargains on the market.



Juhyo Special Suntory Habanero Infusion!  This is actually a korui shochu, which gives it a much more neutral, alcoholic flavor than the honkaku shochus.



Barley photo credit.

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