Distillery: SANWA SHURUI SHUZO
Type: Mugi Shochu (barley)
Available in USA: Yes
Iichiko Silhouette shochu, from Oita prefecture, is a label that all Japanese shochu drinkers will get to know, simply because it is so ubiquitous. Like every bar in America having Jack Daniels, every Izakaya in Japan carries Iichiko. In fact, Sanwa Shurui claims that Iichiko is the number one selling line of shochu in Japan. Like it or not, if you prefer shochu, you will definitely be having Iichiko sooner or later.
Short of Hakutake Shiro Shochu Iichiko Silhouette may be the cleanest, cleared shochu I’ve tried to date. The scent of Iichiko reminded me of citrus and sake. Recently we’ve been comparing shochu to standard western liquors such as vodka or Jameson whiskey. Iichiko is so light and refreshing that it is more vodka like than vodka. A shochu that could easily be used in place of vodka for simple mixers like vodka cranberry or vodka orange juice. It also can be drank on the rocks, or even neat. Though I do not prefer shochu warm, the distiller advertises Iichiko Silhouette as a being delicious warm.
Iichiko Silhouette is incredibly easy to find. Astor Wines and Spirits and Linwood Liquors both carry it. For those who do not live in the New York Metro area, there are plenty of other stores that carry it. 1000 Corks seems to have a variety of stores. Prices seem to vary from $20 to $27. Given that Sake is still far more popular in America, many Japanese restaurants may only carry 1 shochu. Often this shochu is Iichiko Silhouette. Though it’s not the most distint shochu, its a respectable shochu that can be drank in a variety of different ways.