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Reviews for 2018

February 2018 - Asian Spirits

February 2018 - Asian Spirits
This month's Spirits feature is Asian Spirits

Asian Spirits Reviews

Kinmen Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor 1958
93 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas of plantain peel and flesh, galangal, banana nut bran muffin, water chestnut pressed linen, and grass with a satiny, lively, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, nuanced, very long zucchini bread with chestnut honey, pink peppercorns, nut brittle, and minerals finish. A vivacious and tasty baijiu for all occasions.
Awards: 2017 Best Baijiu
Kirishima Shuzo Akane Kirishima
93 points
$21.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Fruity, floral, attractive aromas and flavors of violet candies, rosewood, fresh panettone with lady grey tea, fruit stripe gum and fruit loops, and pear blossoms with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a polished, nuanced, long tropical fruit salad, papaya-lychee milkshake, and asian coconut water finish. An ultra-floral botanical garden of a shochu with endless cocktail possibilities; mix as pisco or gin.
Awards: 2017 Best Shochu
93 points $21.99 Best Buy
Kinmen Baoyue Spring Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
92 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of toasted nut brittle, peppered roasted pineapple and apple, fruit pastry and teas, and model glue and chlorine with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, intricate, long nut and honey syrup, caramelized nuts and root vegetables, pepper and garlic, and fish tank finish. A rich, yet nuanced savory baijiu that will appeal to whisky drinkers.
Kinmen Battle Spirit Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
92 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of yeasty dough, drying paint and licked manilla envelope, magic marker cap, and roasted coconut water with a supple, vibrant, fruity medium body and a peppery, captivating, long chestnut syrup, jackfruit, and pepper and olive tapenade finish. A vibrant, tropical baijiu for stimulating shots and rum cocktails.
Gekkeikan Bizan Barley Shochu
92 points
$24.99
Brilliant clear color. Earthy aromas and flavors of wax and parchment paper, moss, plum water, and yeasty dough with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length powdered sugar, rice licorice candy, and date finish. A clean, food-friendly and lengthy shochu that is a delight to sip; white wine drinkers will love this elegant shochu.
92 points $24.99
By The Dutch Batavia Arrack Indonesia Rum
92 points
$64
Brilliant gold color. Complex aromas and flavors of grilled and caramelized whole plantains and nuts, hot copper pot, and ground nuts and minerals with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an even, interesting, medium-long wet alpaca wool, leather bound book, rice water and plant, and brown sugar in chamomile tea finish. A rich and refined Batavia Arrack for sipping or cocktails.
Kinmen Superior Kaoliang Liquor
91 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of kimchi and toasted tofu, mineral spirits, anise candy, and marinated garlic with a tannic, vibrant, fruity full body and a hot, long cane stalk, bamboo, grilled citrus, and ginseng pudding finish. A robust, sweet and savory baijiu with a wide range of applications.
Kinmen Kaoliang Taiwan Merchant Selection Liquor
91 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas and flavors of paint, caramelized bananas, roasted nut brittle, and hot pepper carob bar with a satiny, lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, compelling, long maple nut rice puff cereal, marinated figs and yams, wet wood, and beans and peas finish. A stalwart baijiu that is reminiscent of reposado tequila.
Kinmen Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor 76 Proof
91 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas of caulk and rubber cement, sherried drizzled tropical fruits, mesquite and ancho, and horseradish and smoked paprika with a tannic, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, refreshing, medium-long marinated carrot and celeriac, vinegar-forward cole slaw, chestnut brittle, and cigar tobacco finish. An appetizing savory baijiu.
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima
91 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Savory aromas and flavors of chestnuts and mushroom on the forest floor, frosted shredded wheat cereal, roasted shallot, and dill and pickling spices with a round, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a tingling, complex, long horchata, radish, damson plum, and taro root pudding finish. A superb shochu with delicate waves of complex sweet and savory flavors.
91 points $19.99 Best Buy
Gekkeikan Sweet Potato Shochu
91 points
$24.99
Brilliant clear color. Green, savory aromas and flavors of garlic and chive, roasted chestnut, and pickled cucumber with a satiny, bright, dryish medium body and an even, captivating, medium-long rosehip, dried yellow plum, and gelatin candy finish. A great savory shochu with a delightful range of flavors that will be fun to experiment with in cocktails.
91 points $24.99
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
89 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas of stewed bananas and cherries in a metal pot, duct tape, bitter melon, and minerals and acetone with a tannic, medium-to-full body and a hot, very long hot pepper, rice powder, vanilla pudding, and coconut ash and cigar wrapper finish. A powerful, cachaça-like baijiu that commands attention.
Kirishima Shuzo Shiro Kirishima
89 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of singed herbs and leeks, dusty potato skin, mustard seed, and soy rice cake with a soft, dry-yet-fruity light body and a tingling, breezy citrus rice candy, tapioca, radish, dried ginger, and ginseng and mushroom finish. A delicate savory shochu with a nice tingle for carefree sipping.
89 points $19.99 Best Buy
Otake Dream Soju
89 points
$20
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Earthy aromas of bamboo leaf and shoot, wax, dusty sticky bun, and wet rattan with a silky, dryish light body and an even, engaging, medium-length rice and wax candy, tapioca, and hint of garlic shoot finish. A delicious and nuanced soju with attractive flavor and style.
Awards: 2017 Best Soju
89 points $20 Best Buy
Kinmen Premium Kaoliang Liquor
88 points
Clear color. Curious aromas and flavors of wet latex paint and caulk on wood, grilled and caramelized pickles and citrus, wet rice paper, and squash with a lightly tannic, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, appealing, medium-long vanilla hemp milk, honeyed mixed radishes, and chalk and cedar mulch finish. A vibrant, mouthwatering baijiu that wakes the palate.
Kinmen Original Distilled No.21 Kaoliang Liquor
88 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas and flavors of vinyl and acetone, banana chips, hot pepper marinated cucumber, and medicinal herb tincture with a lightly tannic, lively, sweet-and-sour full body and a peppery, complex, very long leek marmalade, Sichuan button, spicy zucchini pepper bread, and ginseng gum finish. A complex, tactile baijiu.
Kinmen Kaoliang Blue Dragon Liquor
88 points
Brilliant clear color. Brash, buttery aromas and flavors of caramel corn and maple flavored cereal, rice vinegar marinated mushrooms and root vegetables, Coleman’s fuel, and plastic wrapped hard cheese rind with a lightly tannic, lively, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-long orange gelatin, eggshells in potting soil, hot pepper simple syrup, and kelp with sesame finish. A lively and engaging baijiu with good versatility; try as a substitute for gin in cocktails.
Kirishima Shuzo Aka Kirishima
88 points
$21.99
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of fondant, dried cherry and fig, hot breakfast rice porridge with cream, and suede scented candle wax with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length starfruit and pineapple in cream, radish sprouts, red bean ice cream, and white pepper finish. A nice buoyant, lively shochu that will be versatile; a nice introduction to the category.
88 points $21.99
Otake Yinro Soju
88 points
$26
Brilliant clear color. Interesting aromas of sprouted grains in a sack, toffee and flour, peppered dried apple, and magic marker with a silky, medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-length warming cereal with cream and sugar, peppered germ, and asian mushroom finish. A very warming, umami-driven and palate-stimulating soju for cocktails.
Kinmen Aged Ta-Chu Liquor
87 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas and flavors of molasses licorice cake, hot pepper and soy, vanilla nut brittle, and caraway rye with a tannic, racy, fruity full body and a hot, elegant, very long ginseng gum, horchata, hot pepper, and taro root gelato finish. A bombastic, high-impact baijiu that makes an impression.
Kinmen Kaoliang Yellow Dragon Liquor
87 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate-flavored latte, lawnmower bag, dried exotic fruits and flowers, and ironed wet linen with a tannic, vibrant, off-dry full body and a peppery, interesting, long macadamia brittle, milk and honeyed white tea with muffins, grilled citrus and sweet potatoes, and minerals finish. A zesty, flavorful whisky-like baijiu with lots of serving possibilities.
Kinmen Kinmen Single Grain Wheat Liquor
87 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas of permanent marker and spar on wood, dried flowers and mossy bark, cashew fruit and nuts, and foam rubber with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a peppery, intriguing, medium-long honeyed root vegetable, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms, white pepper, whole wheat baklava, and second steeped loose tea finish. A vivacious, grainy, earthy baijiu with fun cocktail and pairing possibilities.
Kinmen Kaoliang Red Dragon Liquor
87 points
Brilliant clear color. Interesting, meaty aromas of brown sugar toasted rice cereal, maple nut fudge, bacon corn bread pudding, and epoxy with a lightly tannic, off-dry medium body and a peppery, interesting, long cashew nougat, macadamia cookie with milked tea, mint pepper jelly on grainy toast, and bamboo stalk and leaf finish. A rich and nuanced baijiu with nice layers of sweet and meaty flavor.
Kinmen Kaoliang Platinum Dragon Liquor
87 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas of caramel rice cereal, habeñero pepper jack, copier ink and turpentine wood, and pickled cruciform vegetables with a medium body and a peppery, complex, very long caramelized nuts and tropical fruits, white chocolate mint, and wet stone finish. A punchy and flavor-packed baijiu with a great long finish.
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
87 points
Clear color. Complex, attractive aromas and flavors of dark caramelized roasted nuts, barley miso soup, chocolate espresso bean, and inky newspaper and wax with a satiny, bright, medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long honeyed water chestnut, toasted coconut chips, toasty bread crust, and pepper finish. A rich, spicy baijiu that suggests many wood-aged notes and rye notes.
Charm Soju
87 points
$2.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Clean aromas and flavors of porcelain, suggestion of sweet cream, rice cake and wafer, and taffy with a satiny, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy rice candy and wrapper, rain on concrete and balsa, and white chocolate water finish. A very neutral, smooth and silky soju.
87 points $2.99 Best Buy
Kinmen V.S.O. Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
86 points
Brilliant clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of freshly lacquered oak, sappy pine saw dust, dragon fruit and aloe, and nut oil with a tannic, tangy, off-dry medium-full body and a hot, refreshing, long overripe whole pineapple, salt water taffy, cigar wrapper and white ash, and birch bark and beer finish. A very earthy, savory and woody baijiu for robust shots, cocktails, and food pairings.
Kinmen Taiwan Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
85 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas and flavors of bamboo stalks and leaves, rubber cemented wood, maple syrup, and homemade paper with a tannic, vibrant, off-dry medium-to-full body and a peppery, appealing, medium-long chestnut mocha syrup, grilled citrus and root vegetables, radishes and peppers, and minerals finish. A very lively and refreshing baijiu with fire and style.
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Selection No. 46
85 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas and flavors of frosting lemon poppyseed scone, naugahyde and hot clay pot, pickled bok choi peppers, and adhesive with a round, racy, fruity medium body and a peppery, complex, long grilled pineapple and fennel, smoked peppercorns, and mango sorbet finish. A powerfully fruity baijiu with great cocktail potential.
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
85 points
Brilliant clear color. Vaporous aromas of grilled fruits, pickled garlic, putty and lacquer, Coleman’s fuel, and paprika on mustard green with a lightly tannic, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a peppery, charming, long overripe pineapple, papaya mint yogurt, and river stones finish. A solid, somewhat mezcal-like baijiu with all elements in balance.
Kinmen Cellar Reserve Kaoliang Liquor
85 points
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of roasted nut brittle, chicory coffee, inky pepper, and dishwasher detergent tablet and mothballs with a lightly tannic, lively, fruity full body and a hot, captivating, long mint jelly on fig Newton, spiced nuts, peppery plum brandy, and clay finish. A solid Baijiu for adventure-seeking nights.
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