Distillery: NISHIYOSHIDA SHUZO
Type: Mugi Shochu (Barley)
Koji: Taste like it should be black, but we’re guessing
Available in USA: Yes
Kintaro Baisen Mugi Shochu (Barley) is produced by the Nishi Yoshida Distillery in Fukuoka prefecture. Nishi Yoshida may have the most inspired company moto of all Japanese shochu distillers with the mtoto “Making a serving of shochu is making a smile”. Though we at Shochu Distilled review many different types of mugi shochu what is unique about Kitaro is the fact that it is made with roasted mugi (barley).
Kintaro Baisen Mugi (barley) shochu is both a unique and interesting. Nishi Yoshida’s website describes the flavor as roasted wheat. Having never eaten roasted wheat, we can neither confirm or deny this description. We did pick up notes of dark chocolate, and not unlike the Nishi Yoshida’s description we did taste the flavor of roasted peanut. Many types of shochu do well as low calorie alternatives in mixed drinks that normally call for vodka. This is not one of those types of shochu. It has far too much personality to be used as such a neutral base. This is a deep and flavorful shochu that is great either with a dash of water or on the rocks. Nishi Yoshida recommends this shochu as a side to either grilled or fried chicken. I would tend to agree with this recommendation. I would also say that this is an appropriate drink for a whiskey drinker on a hot day, or great for a shochu drinker on a chilly evening.
Though not common Kintaro Baisen Mugi Shochu does technically exist in America. Let me clarify, when I say “not common” I really mean “has absolutely no foot print online in english, period.” This being said, I did try this at the fantastic Shigure Sake Bar. This establishment will be reviewed in future posts. In the meantime I’ll mention that as a shochu drinker, this is one more place where shochu is second to sake. That said, though having few types of shochu, what they have is quite unique. It’s well worth the trip down to TriBeCa.