This is a few months old now, but last year’s September issue of “dancyu” (pronounced /dahn chew/) was all about shochu. The famous culinary magazine covers just about every topic and trend it can think of, but this was the first time in recent memory that we can remember virtually the entire issue being devoted to shochu.
Contained within are all manner of interviews with distillers, food pairing suggestions, and bottle recommendations. There’s also plenty of exposition dedicated to bringing shochu and awamori newbies up to speed.
One of my favorite parts is the blind tasting that they ran 30 F&B professionals through to see what they thought about nearly three dozen different imo jochu. The part that tickled my funny bone was that only one of the contestants could correctly identify the legendary Mori’izou label out of the 11 grouped in the “light” category. A surprising 20% of the field actually guessed incorrectly that another imo jochu, Tsuru no Izumi, was the crown jewel of Kagoshima, Mori’izou.
I guess they can be excused though since Mori’izou is so prohibitively expensive and difficult to find. I doubt that more than one or two of them had tasted it within recent memory.