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

JAPAN-I: The new source of information for Visitors in Japan!

May 11, 2009

sumo_a_light

A new Website and Magazine called Japan-I was born in January this year and has been fast becoming the perquisite for newcomers and residents alike in Japan!

japan-i-small

The free magazine, both available in English and Chinese (180,000 copies) is available in Tokyo at main airports and stations, and will be on stands in other airports soon, including Mount Fuji Shizuoka Airport!

As for the website, it provides information in English, Korean, Mainland Chinese and Taiwan Chinese.

All articles and information are exclusively written by residents in Japan, offering veracity, authenticity and invaluable service for all!

If the tabloid is not available in your region, contact the editors at ad-info@japan-i.jp!

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting 6/2: Kogane-Danshaku by Sugii Brewery

April 15, 2009


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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kogane-danshaku

Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City has come up with yet another creation of theirs! But once again, it is a “limited edition”. You do have to keep all your senses alert to discover these bottles.
Unlike Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu Island, Shizuoka-made shochu are not only exotic and extravagant, but rare and slightly more expensive. The labels certainly become collectors’ items!

Sugii Brewery: Kogane-Danshaku Shochu

Ingredients:
Kogane (Satsuma potato variety) and Danshaku (normal potato variety), both grown in Shizuoka Prefecture
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5 (Shizuoka Sake Yeast)
Fermented rice
Contents: 500 ml

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Clean, strong, nutty
Taste: Sweetish, clean attack.
Deep roasted nuts.
Shortish tail with a dry finish.
Memory of coffee beans.

Overall: Unusual, clean, elegant shochu with lots of character and facets.
Combination of Satsuma yams and potatoes out of the ordinary! The use of Shizuoka Sake Yeast gives it a very regional flavour!
Best appreciated straight with plenty of ice!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
Chewy
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Yakushima Shochu

March 24, 2009


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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mitake

Wherever I go in Japan, I make a point to eat and drink local.
As there is no sake brewery, but only a shochu brewery, my choice was easy!
Mitake Brewery is the only authentic Shochu Brewery in Yakushima Island.
Others are only Breweries from Kagoshima Prefecture having sub-breweries to take advantage of the great water and tourists!

MItake/”the Three Peaks”
Alcohol: 25%
Aroma: Clean, discreet, elegant
Taste: Soft attack, clean. Shortish tail.
Dry. Dry roasted nuts, coffee beans.
Stands well to food with a sweetish undertone.
Comments: Pleasant refined shochu.
Like all shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, best drunk with ice only.

mitake-aiko

Aiko/”Love Child”
Alcohol: 25%
Aroma: Very dry, clean, strong.
Taste: Soft attack. Clean taste. Nicely warming up back of the palate.
Dry. Shortish tail. Memories of coffee beans and nuts.
Comments: Great with sashimi.
Turns sweetish and deeper with food with memories of brown sugar.

mitake-yakushima

Yakushima
Alcohol: 35%. Genshu/no pure water added. Unaltered.
Aroma: Fine and discreet.
Taste: Clean, deep taste. Fruity: brown sugar. Almost sweet.
Keeps well with food. Turns drier with food. Shortish tail.
Comments: A fine, elegant shochu, which can be enjoyed for its sake or with food. A very high-level shochu!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
Chewy
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

A new shochu is born: Bekko Tonbo by Senju Brewery/Distillery

December 13, 2008


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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bekkotonbo
(Courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun)

Senju Brewery/Distillery announced on December 11th the creation of a new Shochu to contribute to the preservation of an endangered dragonfly species!

Bekko Tonbo, or Bekko Dragonfly, is an endangered insect endemic to the region around Iwata City. 10 yen for each bottle sold will go to help its survival!

The shochu is a kome/rice shochu made from rice and white lees used to brew top-class sake. A 720ml bottle being priced 1t893 yen, it is very cheap for such an exravagant shochu.
The brewery has concocted it as light, sweetish elegant brew best drunk with mineral water and ice!