Ian here, and Happy Shochu'sday! 久しぶりですね。
Thanks everyone who's been coming to keep us company at our bar! It's been awesome seeing familiar faces and some new regulars coming in to learn about and enjoy shochu.
This post has been a long time coming, as I finally got to crack open this bottle of Cool Mint Green. This was a generous gift from Christopher Pellegrini during his cross-country tour promoting his new line of shochu selections from Honkaku Spirits. This shochu is exciting for many reasons - for starters, it's Japan only; this is a private bottling made for Kosedo Saketen, a spectacular liquor store in Kagoshima known for an extensive shochu selection. The distiller is Kokubu Shuzo, producers of myriad imo shochu ranging from the classic, rustic styles to the lighter and fruitier expressions represented by Cool Mint Green.
This shochu, along with Flamingo Orange and Sunny Cream (other special Kosedo releases), expresses sweet potato in a manner so alien to what the U.S. market has available. Satsuma Masari sweet potatoes and white koji rice are fermented with Kagoshima Kaori Yeast #1 to produce intense esters and aromas. This mash is then vacuum distilled to preserve these unique flavors (atmospheric distillation makes up 99% of the imo offerings on market here now).
The result is an intensely tropical drink! I get notes of lychee, banana yogurt hi-chew, raspberry, and fresh cream. I found drinking this with soda made for a refreshing and ethereal libation. We have an inch or so left in this bottle, so at the shop we are nursing it gingerly as we know we won't we getting it back anytime soon (at least not until we can bring back some isshobin from Japan).
Woot! Thanks for reading as always, and let's enjoy shochu together at the UM bar soon.