The Process of Production
The Elements that Support Honkaku Shochu and Awamori's Deliciousness
Honkaku Shochu and Awamori making depends on know-how honed over centuries to bring out the character of the raw ingredients in the best possible way. What is the key point for giving Honkaku Shochu and Awamori a mellow flavor and aroma?
- no alcoholic beverage can be produced without water. Japan is blessed with high quality natural water. Its abundant natural ultra- or super- soft water is the essential element of both Honkaku Shochu and Awamori.
- Rice, Barley, Potatoes, Soba, Black Sugar, etc
- The three types of Japanese traditional koji (Black, White, Yellow)
Originally, the Japanese koji used in Shochu production was mainly black koji, but in the Taisho Era (1912-1926), the white koji variant appeared. Because white koji is easier to handle it is now widely used in Shochu Kura.
However, the current trends favouring diversity and differentiation have brought black koji back into popularity. The general public also recognize the benefits of good Honkaku Shochu made with black koji. This has prompted something of a “back to basics” for Honkaku Shochu.
Furthermore, recently Shochu made with yellow koji from sake brewing has also become popular.
- Primary Moromi and Secondary Moromi
The ingredients of primary moromi are koji, water and cultivated yeast.
After adding the water, this primary moromi is glycated and fermented to create the secondary moromi.
Usually, rice koji is used to produce the primary moromi, but recently “All Mugi Shochu” using barley koji and “All Imo Shochu” using sweet potato koji have been developed.
The Pot Still
Some Kura are still using their traditional wooden barrels or tubs, but specially-made stainless steel still pots are the current mainstream.