About Asian Spirits from Japan

About Asian Spirits from Japan
Japan has become a major player in the single malt category; as some examples are considered among the finest in the world. Quality malt whiskey in Japan was first produced in the 1920s; today there are several distilleries that craft products based on single malt Scotch. There are numerous styles from very light to those with a heavy peaty quality. The best examples are aged from 12 to 18 years in wood barrels. The other main spirit in Japan is shochu, a beverage made from any number of ingredients, such as barley, rice, buckwheat or even carrots. Having a clear appearance, a shochu displays a wide range of aromas such as fig, fruit cake, paprika and even marinated mushrooms. Shochu has an alcoholic percentage ranging form 25% to 45% and is served neat, on the rocks or sometimes mixed with fruit juice.

Top Picks for Japan

Asian Spirits

Kirishima Shuzo Akane Kirishima Shochu
93 points
Clear color. Floral aromas and flavors of lilac, violet, dried apricot, candied citrus, and sweet ginger with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, delightful, medium-length finish manifesting suggestions of rice milk and spiced cherries. A pisco-like Shochu with extroverted perfumed floral character; a great choice for cocktails and pairing with spicy foods.
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima EX Delicious Pentagon
93 points
Clear color. Savory aromas of roasted sweet potato, toasted garlic, blackened carrot, earthy green tea, and mushroom broth with a round, vibrant, dryish medium body and a smooth, elegant, medium-long roasted bacon wrapped dates, quark, fried noodles, and soy finish. A mouthwatering, savory Shochu to complement a wide variety of meals; try in craft cocktails too.
Kirishima Shuzo Akane Kirishima Shochu
93 points
Clear color. Floral aromas of violet, tea rose, pear blossom, mixed melon, and cherry with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, complex, long floral waters, pink peppercorn, and fresh sweet potato noodles finish. Swap this Asian spirit for pisco or gin in craft cocktails or just sip the vividly floral tipple on its own to experience an avant garde approach to shochu.
Awards: 2018 Best Shochu
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima EX Shochu
92 points
Clear color. Savory, smoky aromas and flavors of baked sweet potato, preserved lime, black snake, alliums, and marinated mushrooms with a satiny, crisp, dry light-to-medium body and a graceful, complex, medium-length finish that exhibits overtones of roasted carrot, pickled ginger, and mint finish. A chewy, savory Shochu that will make a great dinner pairing; lots of nuance to explore.
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 finish revealing nuances of 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
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima Shochu
91 points
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of gunpowder, black lime, marinated mushrooms, miso-caramel, water chestnut, and charcoal with a satiny, soft, dry light body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length finish that presents notes of mixed melon salad, kabocha squash, and toasted sesame. A rock-solid Shochu with classic, food-friendly flavors.
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima Shochu
91 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Savory aromas and flavors of marinated mushrooms, soy-glazed seaweed snack, salted pretzels, and bell pepper with a satiny, vibrant, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, engaging, medium-long finish that presents accents of fresh bread and caramelized shallots finish. A food-enhancing shochu with lots of umami notes to explore.
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 finish revealing notes of 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
Takahashi Brewery Ginrei Shiro Shochu
90 points
$22
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas of rice candy and watermelon cooler with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light body and a medium-long bubblegum, agave nectar, white pepper, and aniseed finish. A silky, fruity shochu with a friendly personality; a nice transition for sake drinkers.
90 points $22 Best Buy
Kirishima Shuzo Shiro Kirishima Shochu
89 points
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of sweet potato noodles, taro custard, jerky, kimchi, and roasted squash with a satiny, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a seamless, medium-length finish. A delicate, starchy and food-friendly Shochu for the table.