GSN Review: Honkaku Koji Spirits

Honkaku Spirits is devoted to bringing artisanal Japanese spirits to American customers with a particular focus on koji-based spirits including Honkaku (meaning authentic) Shochu, Ryukyu Awamori from Okinawa, and koji whiskey, an as-yet undefined but widely enjoyed category of whiskey. Working exclusively with family-run suppliers, Honkaku Spirits endeavors to introduce the finest traditional spirits Japan has to offer.

Yokka Koji 4-Day Koji Awamori (Chuko Distillery, Tomigusuku, Okinawa Prefecture) is a distinctly complex awamori made by one of the most creative distilleries in Okinawa Prefecture. Rather than the customary two-day koji propagation process, Chuko Distillery doubles the duration of this essential step, creating layers of flavor and aroma as a result. After a 22-day, all-rice koji fermentation, single pot distillation, and six months of tank aging, Yokka Koji is bottled at 43% ABV and exudes a luscious aroma profile. GSN’s Remarks: Remarkably delicate for the proof. Light in flavor, with a sweetish edge. However, as the flavor journey moves forward, there is a slight smokiness and salinity on the tongue. Then, a warming, with soft spice way back on the palate at the finish. Very elegant and exceptionally crafted. GSN Rating: A+

Jikuya Black Sweet potato shochu (Jikuya Distillery, Satsuma-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture) This sweet potato shochu is made from Kagoshima-harvested ingredients and begins its life fermenting in decades-old clay pots buried up to their shoulders in the distillery floor. Kogane Sengan sweet potatoes are added to the secondary fermentation, imparting distinct earthy and vegetal notes. After a single pass through a pot still, the spirit is rested for one and a half years in unglazed clay pots, which adds minerality and complexity. GSN’s Remarks: We definitely pick up on the minerality at the outset. Almost like an earthy vodka, but for the inherent sweetness and smokiness from the sweet potato. At only 25% ABV, this is a easy to drink spirit perfect for pairing with pork chops, tempura or even pizza. GSN Rating: B+

Jikuya White Sweet potato shochu (Jikuya Distillery, Satsuma-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture) This sweet potato shochu is made from Kagoshima-harvested ingredients and begins its life fermenting in decades-old clay pots buried up to their shoulders in the distillery floor. Anno imo sweet potatoes are added to the secondary fermentation, imparting equal parts sweet and spicy notes. After a single pass through a pot still, the spirit is rested for at least three years in unglazed clay pots, which adds to the drink’s depth of flavor. GSN’s Remarks: Quite different from the Jikuya Black, with a slight medicinal flavor, but also an unusual grape brandy character upon entry. Light in body, but rich with flavor, we prefer this one on it’s own, ideally as an aperitif. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Honkaku Spirits

#HonkakuSpirits

One thought on “GSN Review: Honkaku Koji Spirits

  1. Pingback: The Good Spirits News 2022 Holiday Gift Guide – Saké – Good Spirits News

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