Thoughts on the Displayed Products
The basic prerequisite for being claimed as Kuma shochu is that it's made from rice - Technically, since 'Kurtake' is made from a sweet potato called Simon potatoes, it shouldn't be called Kuma shochu. Nevertheless, 'Kurtake' has established a firm position as a spirits. Originally from Brazil, Simon potatoes (rich in vitamins and fiber) can only be cultivated once every two years, for more often may cause replanting failure.
Thirty years ago, the distillery developed shochu using these particular potatoes by request from Amakusa-city. The city was trying to make it a distinct local specialty. At first, no one knew how to process this special ingredient, the Simon sweet potato. Back then it was challenging to make it into shochu, with rice malt and distilled under normal pressure. Vice President Arifumi Tsutsumi says that he likes to drink it on the rocks, but he also wants shochu connoisseurs to enjoy the unique scent of Simon potatoes when mixing it with hot water.
To make this rice shochu 'Ogonkyo,' which is one of Fusanotsuyu's top sellers, 'Kurahachi' is aged in sherry casks for more than three years. Since cask-aged shochu takes longer to make than regular shochu, it tends to be more expensive. However, the company has set a very reasonable price for the 'Ogonkyo' to make it more accessible to their new customers.
"We're bending over backwards a lot" laughs Vice President Tsutsumi, "but we are absolutely confident in the quality of our shochu." The mellow flavor of this rice shochu is well balanced with the aroma of the sherry cask, and because this doesn't interfere with the taste of food, it's a perfect shochu to accompany meals. The sharpness increases but it goes down smoothly when mixed with club soda.
"You may have heard the saying "Names and natures often agree," Adds VP Tsutsumi, "El Dorado (Land of Gold)" is exactly what this label means. Our stylish bottle also catches your eye, and when you drink this shochu, you're guaranteed to be invited to a golden land."