A full strength, almost savory Spirit from Japan’s leading maker of Shochu.
Sanwa Shurui is a family organization in Oita Prefecture, Japan. Three family businesses formed a partnership in 1958 — and a forth family joined in 1959 — to produce a wide variety of indigenous Spirits including Wine, Sake, and Shochu. They produce ten different kinds of Shochu and are the leading producer in Japan. Importantly, they only distill their Shochu once to preserve the character of the Spirits. The company name "Sanwa" is formed from two Japanese words — "san" meaning three and "wa" meaning harmony. Thus Sanwa means "three in harmony" to represent the original three founding families.
In 1979 Sanwa Shurui launched the iichiko brand to support their newest product — a Shochu made exclusively from local nine-row barley and fermented with koji instead of yeast. Koji is technically a kind of fungus most commonly used to create soy sauce and fish sauce. Using this fermentation method brings an umami character to the iichiko Spirits. There are two varieties; iichiko Silouette and Saiten. At 43% ABV — high proof for a Shochu — iichiko Saiten is a full flavored expression designed to bring life to the finest Asian cocktail recipes. The flavor profile leans toward essences of melon, minerals, and other fruits, making it a great base for fresh and modern feats of mixology. Try it instead of Gin in all the classics too.
Shochu can be made from a wide variety of bases. It’s probably best thought of as a cross between Sake and Vodka in flavor and alcohol content. Shochu made from barley is widely considered to be the highest quality with a more delicate profile and floral character.