Archive for March, 2012

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Chestnuts Shochu-Onozukara Mizukara by Fujinishiki Distillery

March 5, 2012

Fujinishiki Brewery/Distillery in Fujinomiya City is remarkable for the fact they are the such establishment in Shizuoka Prefecture to own the largest number of licenses to produce sake, shochu and liqueurs!
Not only do they have the licenses but they are also very active in promoting the products of our Prefecture!
This time they have just created a shochu with their own sake lees/sake kasu and chestnuts grown in Kakegawa City!

Note the simple and cute chestnut design on the presentation box!

Chestnuts Shochu-Onozukara Mizukara by Fujinishiki Distillery

Made from distilled rice (sake lees) and chestnuts
Alcohol: 25 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Mild attack with a late alcohol surge. Fruity. Chestnuts, oranges, faint banana
Body: Light and fluid
Taste: Beautiful attack with plenty of chestnuts backed up by very pleasant alcohol.
Refreshing.
Faint oranges appear later on the palate.
First tasting conducted straight.
Blends well with water for a deep and smooth but light approach.
Very refreshing with ice or water or chilled carbonated water.

Overall: A discovery!
A very refreshing shochu that can be enjoyed all year round.
Best drunk very slowly on its own over ice.
Great as a long drink, too!
Very elegant and distinctly fruity.
Could definitely used in desserts and ice creams!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Bandai Brewery-Wasabi Shochu!

March 5, 2012

Shizuoka Prefecture produces not only 80% of all wasabi grown in Japan, it is also the home of the only true wasabi shochu!
True to say, one cannot make shochu out of wasabi only as it does not contain starch to help the fermentation and distillation, but Bandai Brewery in Shuzenji, Izu Peninsula, concocted it with 75% of top-class rice shochu made from the sake lees of their own sake and 25% of pure essence of wasabi grown in Izu Peninsula!

More precisely, the wasabi is grown on the Amagi Plateau/Amagi Kougen/天城高原 in the northern part of the Peninsula.
At the same time Bandai Brewerry uses pure source water gushing from the Plateau to brew its sake and shochu!

Although it is a true shochu in concept mixed with wasabi essence, Bandai Brewery advertizes it as a sake or liqueur!
It might explain the choice of bottle, a bit unusual for shochu, but easy to handle and store!

Bandai Brewery-Wasabi Sake/Wasabi Shochu

Rice shochu: 75%
Wasabi essence: 25%
Water: Natural source water from Amagi Plateau
Alcohol: 20 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Sweetish. Rice, wasabi, faint notes of banana
Body: fluid
Taste: Softer attack than expected.
Very sophisticated, as complex as a sake!
Pleasant and soft wasabi flavor. Almost a liqueur without the sugar and the cloy aftertaste!
No piquancy at all.
Faint notes of bananas appearing later as it disappears quickly warming up the back of the palate.

Overall: A discovery!
A shochu? Yes!
The fact it is made in the simplest manner possible, that is a high quality rice shochu blended with pure wasabi essence makes it both sophisticated and extravagant.
Its comparatively low alcohol content, 20 degrees, makes it eminently drinkable as it is without any ice, water or whatever!
Most appreciated straight at room temperature.
Could definitely be served as a heady and mysterious aperitif!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Sugii Brewer-Saisuke Shizuoka Imo

March 5, 2012

Sugii Brewery/Distillery in Fujieda City has been noted for quite some time as producing not only top-class sake but alsoo shochu of a superlative level.
They also have the merit to use local ingredients whenever possible!

The imo, or satsuma imo/薩摩芋/sweet potatoes used in this shochu are exclusively grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Sweet potatoes (Shizuoka-grown)
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Kooji/麹: Yellow kooji
Distillation: Normal pressure type
Alcohol: 25.5 %
Bottled in March 2009

Clarity: very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Strong. Nutty. Complex. Hints of pineapple and dry bananas
Body: fluid
Taste: Strong but smooth attack.
Lingers for a while warming up back of the palate.
More complex than expected.
Sweet but dry on the tongue.
Pineapple, nuts, dry almonds, walnuts.
Marries well with food.
Drunk on its own or on plenty of ice mainly reveals a dry nutty, almost sweetish strong accent to rapidly grow into a very dry invasion of the palate.

Overall: A shochu more elegant than expected!
Its strong nutty taste is very pleasant and marries well with any food.
I personally appreciate it on its own poured over a lot of ice like I do for any higher quality shochu, although great with the addition of lemon or lime juice or mixed with Perrier water!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Takashima Brewery: “En” Sherry Barrel Matured Rice Shochu

March 5, 2012

Takashima Brewery in Numazu City has been justifiably considered for the past few years as one of the most daring Sake Breweries in Japan.
Not only content with producing with nationally recognized sakes, they also make use of the sakekasu/white lees of their premium sakes into some extraordinary rice shochu!

Having distilled the sakekasu into shochu spirits they store the latter in sherry barrels inported from Spain to mature for at least two years.
The result is a unique nectar the color of wood.
Actually, the first time they submitted it for registration with the Japan Bureau of Taxes and Excise, it was refused for the somewhat pernicious reason it was too dark and resembled too much to whisky!

Takashima Brewery: “En” Sherry Barrel Matured Rice Shochu

Rice
Alcohol: 25~26%

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Wooden, light brown orange
Aroma: Strong. Alcohol. Plums, oranges.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Fruity and complex.
Plums, nuts.
Disappears quickly warming up the back of the palate for a long time.
Both elegant and puissant.
Fruits keep reappearing with every sip.
Very reminiscent of whisky and anturally dry sherry.

Overal: Extremely elegant and rare shochu!
Probably a unique taste in the whole of Japan.
Drinks easily.
So complex that it requests many a sip to properly discern it.
Should be drunk poured over a lot of ice.
Mixing it with water, or anything else for that matter, would be tantamount to infanticide!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Hana No Mai Brewery: Junmai Shochu-Acha no Tsubome

March 5, 2012

The difference between run-of-the-mill shochu and shochu distilled in Shizuoka Prefecture is extravagance!
Hana no Mai Brewery produces quite a few Rice Shochu, either simple ones made from rice powder accumulated after rice polishing for sake or far more sophisticated made from the sakekasu/white lees left after the sake has been pressed out.

The latter are put on the market either in usual glass bottles or in more elaborate pottery flasks with their presentation boxes!

This particular brew was made through the distillation of the white lees of junmai/premium sake and its taste does bear its origin!

Hana No Mai Brewery: Junmai Rice Shochu-Acha no Tsubome

Alcohol: 25 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Strong and fruity. Banana, vanilla, pineapple, oranges.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Starts slightly liquorish to finish quickly on a dry note.
Complex. Fruity.
Banana, vanilla. Dry notes of pineapple, grapes and macadamia nuts. Ends on dry grape notes.
Elegant and deep shcochu.
Drinks like a dry strong sake!

Overall: A rice shochu so reminiscent of the sake which provided its sakekasu/white lees!
Both strong and feminine in approach.
Definitely to be drunk on its own at room temperature or chilled.
Does not need to be mixed with anything as taste is too complex.
Better chill it than pour it over ice!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Doman

March 5, 2012

Since Yasatei Restaurant has Doman rice shochu on its list I took the opportunity the other day to conduct a tasting while enjoying the food!
“Doman” is the name of a (very expensive) crab solely found in salt water Hamana Lake in Hamamatsu City.
It is brewed by Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery which also brews (mainly) sake and beer, and also liquors!

Doman is a rice shochu made with the best sakekasu/white lees of the Brewery by their brewmaster who is a lady!

To help with the tasting I ordered some Shizuoka-grown tomatoes!

The red tomato is “Ameera” variety celebrated for its sweetness. The orange tomato is a variety grown organically by Shizen no Chikara Farm!

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Doman Rice shochu

Ingredients: Rice, white lees, Shizuoka Yeast, water
Alcohol: 28 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity. Custard
Body: Fluid
Taste: Starts with a soft attack to amplify into a warm pleasant invasion of the palate.
Complex. Fruity and dry. Custard.
Stays dry all the time although taste tends to fluctuate into sophisticated notes of coffee beans.
Marries well with food, especially vegetables salads.

Overall: A very pleasant shochu which does not need to be mixed with anything else.
Best appreciated poured above plenty of ice in a large glass!
Marries so well with vegetables!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Fuji-Takasago Brewery: Fuji No Tsuyu

March 5, 2012

As foreigners, especially not living in this country, seem to be interested in Shochu like my new friend Sissi in Switzerland I thought it was about time to introduce (actually re-introduce) the shochu made in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Although 10 out 28 sake breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture also distill an aggregate of over 40 shochu, they are not well known (actually rare) in Japan as quantities are comparatively small and also because they are simply extravagant!
They are all true shochu/honkakushochu/本格焼酎 but they do not always follow the pattern of the shochu made in Kyushu island for example.
All rice shochu here is either made from the polished rice leftovers or the white lees/sakekasu/酒粕 left after the sake has been pressed.

This shochu was distilled from the white lees left after the sake was pressed and with water from Mount Fuji, hence the name “Fuji no Tsuyu/富士の露 or The Dew of Mount Fuji”!
The label was re-designed last year!

Rice shochu
Base: sake white lees
Water: Mount Fuji water
Alcohol: 25 degrees
Bottled in December 2010

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity and dry. Alcohol. Custard, vanilla.
Body: fluid

Taste: Dry strong but pleasant attack.
Fruity. Almonds, Custard.
Very pleasant even on its own.
Lingers for a while with notes of Macadamia nuts.
Complements food well.

Overall: As far as rice shochu comes it is just too extravagant. I really enjoyed it on its own or with plenty of ice.
Beautiful with chilled Perrier, too.
No real need to mix it with anything else! It shows too many facets to interfere with!
The kind of shochu ladies would relate to!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery