Shochu is arguably Japan’s best kept secret in the realm of alcohol. Using a plethora of interesting base ingredients, shochu has some of the most robust and memorable flavours to be found anywhere. And Ichiban Fuda Tokusen shochu features all the qualities that make Japan’s national spirit so damn drinkable.
Crafted by the Asahi brewery of beer fame, the Ichiban Fuda Tokusen is a premium honkaku (single-distilled) mugi (barley) shochu. Translating to ‘number one card,’ the drink has an auspicious air to it that echoes good fortune.
Stored in oak casks that were once used for whisky production, the shochu definitely has whisky-like qualities to it. With the barely being polished at a low temperature and the alcohol being distilled under low pressure, there’s plenty to like here.
A floral, smoky uwa-dachi ka (first aroma from the glass) gathers in the nose. On the first sip, a punchy sweetness takes hold. Notes of peach and banana create a beautiful fukumi-ka (aroma in the mouth). For the modori-ka (third aroma after swallowing), there’s a woody, whisky flavour.
The mixture of sweet and smoky provides a great contrast. The shochu is topped off with a clean finish that makes it easy to drink and freshens up the palate as well.
The Ichiban Fuda Tokusuen is a great, all-rounder shochu that’s ideal for novices and aficionados.
Type: honkaku (single-distilled)
Category: mugi (barley)
Another great barley shochu to try is the Satsuma Shuzo Kannako variety! Let me know if you’ve tried the Ichiban Fuda yourself as I’d love to hear your thoughts.