Sango Sho Awamori

81 Points


Kanji: さんご礁
Type: Awamori
Koji: Black
Region: Ryukyu Islands
Prefecture: Okinawa
Proof: 60
Available in USA: No

Sango Sho Awamori is produced by Yamakawa Shuzo.  It’s located near wherethe Minna river empties into the East China Sea, in the town of Motobu Okinawa.  This bucolic setting is the reason why Sango Sho Awamori is named after the Japanese term for coral reef.

Sango Sho Awamori is made using the classic ingredients of thai style long grain rice and black koji.  Given this, it doesn’t venture far from classic awamori flavors.  As Awamori goes, I would consider Sango Sho to be fairly smooth and easy to drink.  This is due to it being aged 3 years.  Normally aging for years can add additional nuances that are picked up from different types of wooden barrels.  In this case Yamakawa chose to age Sango Sho in stainless steel, so the result is a relatively mild awamori.  On Yamakawa Distillery’s website they describe Sango Sho as being ideal for people who are new to Awamori and popular with women in Japan.  All this mildness being said, it should be realized that Sango Sho is 60 proof, which is significantly stronger than many types of shochu.

Sango Sho Awamori unfortunately seems to  be unavailable in the United States.  It seems to run about $19 in Japan.  One thing to note, Yamakawa Distillery does offer tours of the their distilling house and they have many types of Awamori that have been aged far longer and far more premium than Sango Sho.  I’ll deffinitely consider stopping here the next time I find myself in Okinanwa.  Though a decent value at this price, given the 2 bottle limit to the number of bottles one can bring back from Japan on the airplane, there are probably other bottles more deserving of being in your top two.  That said, if you are spending time in Japan, and are in the mood for Awamori, you could do far worse than Sango Sho Awamori.

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