What is Honkaku Shochu?
There are two classifications of Shochu in Japan.
The first One is Honkaku Shochu (Single distillation Shochu) and the other is Korui Shochu (Consecutive distillation shochu ).
They are categorized by Japanese taxation law based on the ingredients and manufacturing method. The word Honkaku is translated as traditional, authentic or genuine.
Honkaku Shochu has restrictions on the ingredients and it has to be made by single distillation, which allows Honkaku Shochu to retain the rich flavor and aroma of its main ingredients.
Kourui Shochu is made by consecutive distillation, which creates a clear taste with no aroma suited for use with cocktail mixers. Their ingredients are varied like molasses, alcohol, and grains. Even though both Honkaku Shochu and Korui Shochu are both called Shochu, they have different qualities and charactors.
Here at Satsuma Shuzo, we make only Honkaku Shochu to provide the best and most delicious traditional Shochu.
What is "Satsuma Shochu"?
Satsuma is the traditional historical and geographic name for modern day Kagoshima Prefecture. In recognition of the long traditional history of Satsuma as the home of Shochu making, the World Trade Organization recognizes "Satsuma Shochu" as an approved geographical indication for the international conservation of social reputation and special quality.
This means that for a Shochu to be labeled as Satsuma Shochu, it must be made in a traditional region through traditional methods, much like "Scotch Whisky", "Cognac Brandy" and "Bordeaux Wine".
Only Shochu which meet all of the following strict standards can be certified as Satsuma Shochu.
(a) The water that is used to make Satsuma Shochu must be from Kagoshima, and rice or Imo (sweet potato) Koji has to be used in the process of making Shochu.
(b) All Imo (sweet potato) used to make the Shochu must be produced in Kagoshima.
(c) The Shochu must be processed, distilled, and bottled in Satsuma (modern day Kagoshima) using single distillation.
Satsuma Shiranami, Kuro Shiranami and all the other Imo Shochu that we produce here at Satsuma Shuzo are certified as "Satsuma Shochu". Our company was established in Satsuma, modern day Kagoshima, which is the origin of Imo Shochu has the biggest production district of best quality Satsuma Imo (sweet potato).