The September 2016 edition of “dancyu” trains its brilliant culinary focus on shochu, and it’s on newsstands now!
The Japanese language magazine is an excellent introduction to the spirit for novices, but has enough nerdy tidbits about everything from the history of the drink’s development to detailed explanations about koji and how its made.
One of the most interesting parts of the 176 page publication is the writeup about four young guns guiding the industry in new directions.
Kuroki Honten and Osuzuyama Distilleries’ Shinsaku Kuroki is profiled first, billed as the “銘醸蔵の‘プリンス,” or “Famous Distillery’s Prince.” You may be familiar with such brands as the barrel-aged barley beauty, Hyakunen no Kodoku, or the balanced sweet potato Yamaneko (featured on page 103 of “The Shochu Handbook“).
In a bit of fortuitous timing, Kuroki uses his two pages to partially introduce a new 14% ABV sweet potato drink called “Q” which will debut one month from today.
Next up is Yamato Zakura’s Tekkan Wakamatsu, the “焼酎スタイルメーカー” (Shochu Style Maker). The featured bottle on page 18 is the distillery’s namesake, Yamato Zakura, a lovely sweet potato shochu that is still difficult to find in Tokyo.
Yanagita Distillery’s Tadashi Yanagita, the oldest representative profiled at 43, is touted as “焼酎業界のエジソン,” or the “Shochu Industry’s Edison.” The Miyazaki Prefecture distillery’s two famous barley brands, Akakage and Aokage are described on page 20.
Last but not least is the perennially well-dressed Isekichi Komaki, third master distiller at Komaki Distillery. He’s labeled “薩摩のやんちゃ杜氏” (Satsuma’s Naughty Master Distiller). He brought two lovely and complex sweet potato shochu to display, Isshou Silver and Isshou Bronze.
There are several added bonuses such as a section on the dancyu staff’s top picks for which shochu brands pair best with soda water, and another that’s entirely about everybody’s favorite izakaya treat, gyoza.
This edition is currently a number one seller on Amazon, so grab your 880 yen copy while supplies last.