Shochu is one of Japan’s most exciting beverages. There’s a huge variety of ingredients and every type has its own unique flavour and profile. One of the most interesting types I’ve tried recently is Kuro Kirishima shochu supplied by Japanese restaurant Shoryu in Manchester.
Tasting this particular kind of shochu was a big deal because it officially signifies that I’ve tried all the shochu that Shoryu has to offer (Can you tell how much I enjoy eating there?).
Kuro Kirishima shochu is produced by the Kirishima Shuzo brewing company located in Kyushu. Made with black koji, the drink celebrates the legacy of the first shochu that the founder of Kirsihima Shuzo, Kichisuke Enatsu, made in 1916.
It’s an imo (sweet potato) shochu. This type is known for having more robust flavours than rice and barley shochus.
Kuro Kirishima has a pleasant, faintly fruity aroma. I’ve tried other black-koji based shochus with ice, but something about the Kirishima variety made me want to drink it straight. Hints of melon and citrus came through on the first sip. I liked the sweetness.
This contrasted with the crisp aftertaste, which left behind a burning sensation at the back of my throat. I detected smoky notes that lingered on my palate for longer than expected. It created a warming sensation that acted as the perfect buffer against cold weather.
There’s an underlying complexity to the Kuro Kirishima that makes it enjoyable to sip. It’s a smooth, robust beverage that can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks or warmed up in the oyuwari serving method. Buy a bottle and let me know what you think.
Type: honkaku (single-distilled)
Grain: 83% imo (sweet potato) and 17% rice