Brand: Kikaijima Kurochu Kokuto Shochu (喜界島 くろちゅう)
Distillery: Kikaijima Shuzo Co, Ltd.
Location: Kikaijima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Grain: kokuto sugar
Koji: rice (black koji)
Alcohol: 25% (50 proof)
Kikaijima is a small island in the Amami Island group, which used to be part of Okinawa. Amami is the only region of Japan allowed to make shochu from kokuto sugar. As such, Kikaijima Kurochu is an aged kokuto sugar, black koji shochu with all of the rich characteristics you’d expect from the southern islands.
A rich, molasses nose promises a sweet, full-flavored kokuto shochu and wow does it deliver. A chewy sugary buttered palate subsides into the luscious, unmistakable taste of kokuto sugar. Other kokuto sugar shochu (those sold in the U.S. anyway) tend to be relatively neutral – faintly sweet, but mild. Somewhat like unaged rums. Kikaijima is a much less delicate specimen. Full bodied and lovely from start to finish.
The Verdict: Highly Recommended
Kikaijima is a delicious kokuto sugar shochu. Unfortunately, this is a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) bottle. It’s currently sold in Australia and the EU, but not available in the U.S. And this bottle, a gift from a friend, is almost empty. I hope there’s another in my future.