TOP > WHAT IS 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.
At this stage, the rice Koji from step one is mixed with yeast and water. In this fermentation process, yeast breaks down glucose, that is made by the Koji, into alcohol and CO2. This process takes about 6 to 8 days. The Shochu mash of this step is called the preliminary Moromi.
Sweet potato get harvested and transferred to the distillery. All of Our Honkaku Imo Shochu, including both Shiranami and Kuro Shiranami, use only top quality Satsuma Imo (Sweet Potato) grown only in South Kagoshima.
At the distillery, skilled workers check each Satsuma Imo carefully and trim it by hand. We only use the best part of Satsuma Imo for our Shochu.
Sweet potato then washed ,steamed and allowed to cool down. It is then crushed and mixed with preliminary Moromi. The Shochu mash of this secondary preparation is called secondary Moromi.
After about 8 to 10days of secondary fermentation process, the secondary moromi is transferred to pot stills for distillation process. At this stage, This Moromi's alcohol content is around 15%, which is similar to the alcohol content of Nihonshu(Sake).
Honkaku Imo Shochu is made by single distillation. Because of this single distillation, our shochu retains the "Umami" (deliciousness) and aroma of Satsuma Imo.
At the beginning of distillation, the first drip's alcohol level is as high as 60%. As the distillation goes on, the drip's alcohol level goes down. At the end of the distillation process, the unprocessed Shochu has an average of about 37% alcohol content.
After unprocessed shochu is matured, it is filtered then bottled as Genshu, or the alcohol level is adjusted by adding water for other Imo Shochu like Shiranami.
|Maturation & filtration|
|Water added to adjust alcohol level|