Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ty-Ku Soju

I recently came across the article Distilling the mysteries of ‘shōchū’ by Melinda Joe from the Japan Times dated June 10, 2016 and wondered if I had any shōchū in my liquor box. After sifting through the little sample bottles that I have, I found a bottle of Ty-Ku Soju. Now to be honest, I'm not sure when I found it but I put it into the freezer to get nice and cold. While I did that, I decided to do a little research on Soju.

Generally, I found out from the SO-JU: Korean Rice Liquor 소주 listing from the TriFood: Celebrating Korean Food website
Soju is the best known liquor from Korea.  It is distilled, vodka-like, rice liquor with high potency and often flavored similarly. It is smooth and clean in taste, which makes it easy to drink in combination with various Korean dishes. The main ingredient of soju is rice, almost always in combination with other ingredients such as wheat, barley, or sweet potatoes. Soju is clear-colored and typically varies in alcohol content from 10% to 25% proof. It was first known to have been distilled around 1300 A.D.
Soju is the Korean equivalent of the Japanese sake. That said, Jinro is known to be the largest manufacturer of soju which recorded a sale of 70 million cases in 2004. And during that year, more than 3 billion bottles were consumed alone in South Korea!

Specifically to the Ty-Ku Soju, I went to the website for Ty-Ku Soju and found the following passage about Soju:
With 1/2 the calories and twice the taste of vodka, Soju (also known as Shochu) is the #1 distilled spirit in the world. TY KU Soju updates this ancient spirit by producing an unbelievably smooth beverage that is lower in calories and more versatile than vodka. Its superiority is the result of expert small batch distillation & cold filtration, utilizing 100% premium barley. TY KU Soju is crafted from the finest all natural ingredients with no additives, preservatives or sweeteners.
TY KU Soju has a smooth taste from start to finish, unlike Vodka which demands extra flavors & sugars to mask its harsh taste. TY KU Soju is best sipped chilled and is specially crafted to be a flavor catalyst so it absorbs the flavor of fruits & mixers. Create your favorite vodka cocktails with half the calories & double the flavor.

BARLEY: The highest quality in the world, hand selected in Oita, Japan.
SPRING WATER: Naturally filtered by the cedar forests of the Kyushu Mountains.
KOJI: Handmade white koji evokes and enhances flavor and aroma.
40 Proof | Alcohol/Vol: 20% | Calories: 60 
 It seems as if this particular spirit is best suited to those people who do not want to drink something that is either too strong or for those who are looking for "skinny cocktails".

For the sake of the post, I am having the Soju neat. What do I think about it?

I found it to be somewhat dry with a slight fruity note on both the nose and the palate. I do find that the description on the Ty-Ku is somewhat accurate. Where Vodka can be harsh, this Soju is not as harsh as the vodka, though you do get a little of that ethanol flavor. I feel that it would definitely be good in a mixer or a cocktail. I would experiment with it and the Bombay Sapphire East Asia Gin in a variation to a Martini with the Soju replacing the Vermouth.

I think that I would also need to try some other Sojus to see how they differ in terms of both body, flavor and aromatics. I'll keep my eye out for some other soju varieties and give them a taste.

Until Then Happy Drinking,