iichiko Saiten Shochu
iichiko // Japan
iichiko Saiten (EACH-ko SIGH-ten) is a barley shochu also known as mugi shochu. This is a honkaku shochu, the highest grade of shochu which can only be made from one ingredient (100% two-row barley in this case) and distilled once. However, two different methods of distillation are used, low pressure (gen-atsu) and atmospheric (jo-atsu). These two styles are then blended. Bottled at 43% ABV, Saiten is intended to be mixology-friendly. Launched in March 2019.
Shochu/SojuJapanese shochu is typically distilled from sweet potato (imo), barley (mugi), rice (kome), buckwheat (soba) or sugarcane. Koji, a type of mold, is used in the fermentation process. For Korean soju, a fermentation starter called nuruk is used. Korean Soju is generally made from molasses, tapioca, or sweet potatoes but traditionally was made from rice. Both are distilled to ~25-37% ABV. Neither is often aged, but can be.