February 2017 - Asian Spirits

This month's Spirits feature is Asian Spirits
Asian Spirits Reviews
218133
Kirishima Shuzo
Akane Kirishima
Brilliant clear color. Attractive, fruity aromas and flavors of kirschwasser, dried apricot, and spiced honeydew with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, layered, long powdered sugar, pistachio oil, lilac and orange blossom water, and pink pepper and radish finish. A delicious and remarkably fruity shochu that drinks a bit like a fine eau-de-vie.
93 points $11 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218131
Kirishima Shuzo
Kuro Kirishima
Clear color. Roasted, complex, spicy aromas and flavors of vanilla caramel bonbon, dark toasted nut bread, toasted whole grain, and dill pickled tomato with a silky, soft, dry light body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long almond oil, chestnut honey on fennel, light caramel pudding, and peppery spices finish. An elegant and nuanced shochu with fine flavor and balance; try mixing like a rye whisky.
92 points $9 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218079
Tori Kai
Shochu
Clear with a platinum blue cast. Exotic, tropical aromas and flavors of Asian pear, overripe pineapple, banana-papaya custard, and white chocolate mint with a satiny, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, elegant, medium-long starfruit and radish, rice pudding, and hint of fennel finish. An exotically flavorful shochu with lots of Daiginjo sake-like qualities.
92 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218362
Kinmen
Baoyue Spring Kaoliang Liquor
Bright clear color. Aromas and flavors of papaya-pineapple yogurt, yeasty fruit cake, and overripe banana with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, appealing, pickled bamboo shoots, birch beer and ginseng gum, sugared fruit pits, and sandy grassy beach soil finish. An intriguing and enigmatic white-whisky-like spirit with a nice mix of fruity and spicy flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218130
Kirishima Shuzo
Shiro Kirishima
Clear color. Grainy, roasted, umami aromas and flavors of salty dark roasted nuts, soy rice cakes, and roasted barley soup in a clay pot with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, nuanced, medium-long chestnut skin, vanilla milk, plantain, and radish finish. A very interesting and savory shochu with tons of roasted umami aromas and flavors; this will be fun to mix with like a whisky.
91 points $9 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218129
Watanabe Sake Brewing Co.
Kuramoto No Kakushishochu
Clear color. Tropical, toasty aromas and flavors of Asian pear, roasted pineapple and rice, toasty nut brittle, and hint of beeswax and clay with a silky, soft, dryish light-to-medium body and a seamless, amusing, medium-length anise seed, powdered milk, and limestone finish. An elegant, fruity, and toasty shochu that has a pleasing combination of sake and white whisky tones.
91 points $15 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218360
Kinmen
Kaoliang Liquor
Clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of conditioned saddle leather, caramelized nuts and dried tropical citrus, black and smoked tea, and pickling spices with a lightly tannic, crisp, dryish medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-length polished wood, spiced nuts and water chestnuts, white chocolate maple fudge, and earth finish. A very interesting Asian spirit with lots of cocktail possibilities.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218215
Charm
Soju
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of nougat and cream of wheat with maple with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a silky, compelling, breezy vanilla ice milk, hint of mocha flan, and powdered sugar finish. A lovely, flavorful soju that is sure to please.
90 points $2.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218232
iichiko
Frasco
Bright clear color. Yeasty aromas of overripe tropical fruits, yeasty banana bread dough, roasted nuts, and strawberry milk with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-long vanilla rice pudding and milk, honeyed cucumber and sweet potato, and hint of pepper finish. A powerful and layered shochu.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218364
Kinmen
Premium Kaoliang Liquor
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of vanilla nut brittle, honey toasted oat cookie, coconut husk and flakes, and fresh newspaper with a tannic, racy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, complex, honey roasted pineapple, melon in cream, sugared tropical fruits, and chalk and bamboo finish. A vivacious, fruity, and rather approachable overproof rum like spirit given its proof.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218361
Kinmen
Kaoliang Liquor
Clear color. Exotic, herbal, earthy, meaty aromas of freshly painted barn, pickled okra and root vegetables, smoked jerky and nuts, and bbq woods and chips with a lightly tannic, dryish body and a peppery, engaging, medium-long pickled tomato, dusty grassy gravel, and cucumber and bamboo shoot finish. A nice combination of spicy, vegetal and earth tones.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218234
iichiko
Silhouette
Bright clear color. Aromas and flavors of fermenting Asian pear, ground nuts, and hint of fennel with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and an effortless, appealing, medium-length melon in rice milk and rice candy wrapper finish. A flavorful well made shochu.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218365
Kinmen
V.S.O. Kaoliang Liquor
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of paint and caulk, warm plantain pudding and fruitcake, mouse cage straw, and peppered nuts with a gritty, puckering, dryish fat body and a hot, appealing, long bark, mulch and potting soil, nutshell, turnip skin and spinach, and Coleman’s fuel finish. A brash, intense, surprisingly tactile sensory experience; mix like a mezcal.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218132
Kirishima Shuzo
Aka Kirishima
Bright clear color. Fruity, earthy aromas and flavors of spiced apple and papaya, banana skin and sugar cane, green bamboo, and honey roasted chestnut with a silky, soft, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, snappy green pineapple in soy milk, nougat, parchment and grass, and peppered turnip and squash finish. A vibrant earthy earthy shochu for that will be versatile.
86 points $11 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218233
iichiko
BLU
Clear color. Creamy, spicy, complex aromas and flavors of tropical fruit custard, spiced pear, magic marker and acetone, and yeasty dough with a silky, bright, dryish medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length sweet cream, candied yams, and coconut water finish. A round, creamy, impactful shochu.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218120
Kweichow Moutai
Baijiu
Brilliant clear color. Fruity, vaporous, savory aromas and flavors of stewed cashew fruit, sauerkraut and borsht, tamari marinated meat, and twice baked potatoes with a tannic, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a hot, refreshing, long braised beef, mealy Asian pear, pineapple husk and yogurt, and white chocolate finish. A complex interplay of savory, meaty, earthy, and fruity notes.
86 points $139.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218363
Kinmen
Battle Spirit Kaoliang Liquor
Clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of honeyed overripe fruits, pickled root vegetables, stir fried bok choy, and sugar cane with a lightly tannic, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, appealing, medium-long spiced cherries and yams, pepper, powdered sugar, and grass finish. A fun, fruity Asian spirit that is reminiscent of agricole rhum.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218204
West 32
Soju
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of porcelain and hint of dough with a silky, soft, dry light body and a seamless, brisk nut oil, rice paper, and hint of vanilla salt water taffy finish. A light neutral soju for mixing.
85 points $11.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218235
iichiko
Kurobin
Bright clear color. Earthy aromas and flavors of wet leaves and bamboo and fermenting apple and pear with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, stimulating, buoyant hemp and rice milk and radish finish. A nice peppery snappy shochu with a creamy center.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Shortcut: http://www.tastings.com/Calendar-Spirits/Review-2017-02-01-Asian-Spirits.aspx