Since being bitten by the shochu bug, I’ve been on a mission to try as many different types of Japan’s national spirit as possible. From sweet potato to barley, the base ingredients of shochu are as diverse as the breweries that produce such a fine drink.
Brown sugar is another popular ingredient and I recently got my hands on a shochu that falls into this category called Tatsugo gold.
Brown sugar shochu is unique among its kind because it’s only produced on Amami Island. It’s protected by a Geographical Indication (GI), which preserves the rich tradition of the ingredient and its place in the world. The Machida Shuzo brewery is keenly aware of this distinction and has crafted the Tatsugo gold with a great level of care and precision.
Compared to other breweries, Machida uses a higher proportion of brown sugar to achieve a unique taste. The sugar is vacuum distilled, with steam being introduced while the pressure in the distillation tank is reduced. This distillation method evaporates and separates alcohol at a lower temperature.
Named after the city of Tatsugo, the drink is a blend of three different types of shochu, which is matured for at least ten years in different barrels. This includes cognac barrels, stainless steel tanks and white oak barrels. Safe to say this process creates an awesome bouquet of flavour!
Tatsugo gold has a floral scent that reminds me of the light qualities of a good gin. Notes of lychee, strawberry and apple flood into the mouth. This sweetness makes the Tatsugo gold stand apart from savoury shochu like Kannako.
An aftertaste of vanilla comes in towards the end, silky and smooth. The overall mellowness of the drink is incredible, made even better when sipped on the rocks. Machida Shuzo has outdone itself with a delightful shochu that can only be described as liquid gold.
Type: Honkaku (Single-distilled)
Ingredients: Kokuto (brown sugar)
Buy a bottle today and raise a glass to the good things in your life. Kampai!
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