I'm ashamed to say that I had not tried kome (short rice) shochu so often in Japan because I didn't have many occasions to try it. Truthfully, I did not care for it much anyway, since I was most into imo (sweet potato) shochu. So I'm still a kome shochu novice. I want to introduce Toyonaga to you in this post for kome shochu beginners like me.
First, let me tell you about kome shochu. It is said that kome shochu is the origin of shochu. The taste is round, expressing many layers of flavors, notably the aroma of grains. The ingredient is same as sake, but sake is sweeter and melts in the mouth more, while kome shochu is crisp. Kome shochu is generally good with gamey meats and rich, buttery foods. Kome shochu from the Kumamoto prefecture is the most well-known in Japan. In Kumamoto, kome shochu is often paired with horse sashimi, which the region is also known for.
Yes, Japanese people eat horse sashimi.
Variation: Kome (short rice)
Distiller: Toyonaga Shuzo (1894)
Washi's Tip: This shochu is best served on the rocks.
Toyonaga is clean, airy, and soft. It is good for kome shochu beginners, because it does not taste overwhelming, the way imo shochu can be, and is quite mild. You get a hint of sweetness of the rice and when served on the rocks, you will notice a crisp finish.
My exploration of kome shochu starts now. Please join me, and enjoy it!
Shochu doesn't cheat you. Shochu always stands by you. Take your shochu time.