Brand: Zuisen Hakuryu Awamori (瑞泉 白龍)
Distillery: Zuisen Distillery, Co. Ltd.
Location: Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Grain: 100% aged indica (Thai) rice
koji: Okinawa black
alcohol content: 25.9% (51.8 proof)
Zuisen is perhaps the largest distiller of Awamori in Okinawa. This Hakuryu represents their entry level Awamori, though they have domestic varieties that are aged for more than 20 years. Like all Awamori, this represents a full flavored spirit with a great deal of complexity. These spirits are difficult to place flavor-wise and only a molasses palate steps to the front among familiar flavors with Zuisen. Unlike other Awamori available in the U.S. this one is quite balanced. Not necessarily smooth, but mellow for the style.
As with all Awamori, Zuisen ages exceptionally well if stored in a clay jar for a few weeks to months. The flavors mellow further and the nose shifts from strange and exotic to something much closer to a nice rich imo shochu.
The Verdict: Recommended
This is a mild Awamori as they go, which means its still quite a bit more flavorful than other types of shochu. This may be a nice introduction to Awamori for those who have discovered shochu and want to explore its diversity. As with all Awamori, this is probably not a spirit to make cocktails with (which won’t keep us from trying), but it is a nice drink on the rocks or with water.