Kanji: よかいち 米
Distillery: TAKARA SHUZO
Type: Rice Shochu
Available in USA: Yes
With the number of Japanese shochu distilleries coming from the south west region of Kyushu in Japan, it’s a pleasant surprise to be reviewing a shochu from Kansai. Takara Distillery is a relatively large maker of different types of alcohol from the city of Kyoto. This allows them to setup their own companies around the globe and import their products without the help of Japanese trading companies. Their background and model is unique in the shochu industry and I look forward to trying more of their products.
Yokaichi Kome shochu is made with a the same type of rice that is used in the production of sake. Takara Distillery polishes the rice 30 percent before using it in the distilling process. It’s fermented at lower tempratures using yellow koji instead of black or white koji. Yellow koji is used in sake production and results in a light taste.
The flavor of Yokaichi Kome is fairly light thought not quite as smooth as Hakutake Shiro shochu. Both taste similar to a vodka, though it is a bit like comparing Grey Goose vodka with Stolichnaya. Similar to those vodka brands, both of these brands of shochu are acceptable but Hakutake Shiro is deffinitely the smoother shochu that is easier to drink if you prefer your shochu neat. One note, my first couple of sips were quite strong with a personality that was more remeniscent of an imo shochu. This was the only time I realized I was drinking a 50 proof alcohol. It quickly mellowed and remained smooth and easy to drink after breathing and mixing with water for a few minutes.
The one notable positive of Yokaichi Kome is that it is a great value. I found it at a local wine shop for $21 for a 750 ml bottle. Its a good value at this price. It’s a tremendous value at Linwood’s price of $11.98. I plan to be experimenting with shochu in mixed drinks that involve more that my current repertoire of shochu, water, and ice. At these prices it is a acceptable drink on the rocks but yet not so expensive that you feel bad about mixing it with juices or other sweet mixers.