It's been another long week, thus Shochu'sday is upon us. How the time does fly.
This week's shochu, Shiroyutaka Hozan, comes to us from Kagoshima's Nishi Shuzo, a distillery well-known to our customers with offerings like Tomino Hozan and Tenshi no Yuwaku. Once a year, Nishi releases some muroka genshu (undiluted and unfiltered) shochu under the "Jousen" (Distillation Collection) brand; this brand features specific sweet potato varieties with minimal interference from the distiller. They are all fermented with white koji and use muroka to highlight the robust attributes of these sweet potatoes in their unique bodacious glory.
While winding down this evening, I tried this a couple of ways. This shochu clocks in a bit higher than others alcohol-wise, so it benefits from dilution. When I had it mizuwari (mixed with ice water), I was taken aback by the intense aroma of fresh banana with a slight nuttiness. While the starchy-sweet (and long) finish of imo is there, this is ultimately refreshing and begs for repeated application.
I found this a great match with the Beatles' Rubber Soul, because it is an often overlooked shochu that brings excitement, contemplation, and satisfaction every time I bust it out.