Distillery: TAKAHASHI SHUZO
Type: Rice Shochu
Available in USA: Yes
Hakutake Shiro shochu hails from an area in Kumamoto that is thought to be the oldest Japanese shochu distilling region because it has gliphs that date back to the 16th century. The Kome shochu made with rice from this region has been given the distinct name of Kuma-shochu. Essentially it means that the terrior of this region is distinct such that only shochu made from rice of this region can bear the name. This is not unlike scotch whisky from Scotland or Champagne from that region of France.
Hakutake Shiro makes an interesting juxtaposition to yesterday’s review of Kannoko mugi shochu. While Kannoko is a whiskey drinker’s gateway to shochu, the same could be said of Hakutake Shiro being the vodka’s drinkers gateway to shochu. It is incredibly clean and refreshing to drink. Much like expensive vodka Hakutake Shiro seems to strive to be as pure as possible, without the complexity of more robust spirits. It has a hint of pear, a hint of vanilla but neither were overwhelming. Being like a fine vodka in nature, Hakutake Shiro, it would make a fine low calorie, lower alcohol replacement in classic vodka drinks such as a Cape Cod or Vodka Gimlet. Equally, it’s a solid choice on days when the weather gets warm.
Interestingly, Shiro is either easy or hard to find, it depends on where you look. Having been to many shochu bars and restaurants around NYC, its rare to not find it as one of the choices on the menu. It’s almost always there, and almost always at a reason able price. That being said, the opposite is true when searching for a bottle at a liquor store. To date I’ve not found it at a single establishment. It we find an online store who picks this up, we’ll be sure to update the post with the new information.