The Spirits Business, the leading international spirits trade magazine, hosts an annual blind tasting competition known as the Asian Spirits Masters. The goal is to showcase the best Asian spirits producers. This year, Nankai Gold took home a rare Masters Medal while Nankai Shochu garnered a Gold Medal.
Despite the global pandemic, the producers of the Asian Spirits Masters organized a successful competition with judges independent of any brands. Furthermore, spirits were all decanted and delivered anonymously to the judges to ensure fairness.
Nankai Gold won a Masters medal for its cask-aged blended kokuto shochu. The lead judge Bryan Rodriguez, buyer for Harvey Nichols, had this to say:
“Nankai Group showed the best of what Japanese Shochu has to offer. The producer received the top award for its Nankai Gold (43% ABV). Created at the company’s distillery on Amami Island in Japan, the shochu is a blend of cask‐aged kokuto, or ‘black sugar’, shochu. On the nose, the judges enjoyed aromas of ‘Bourbon wood’ and ‘brandy’. The time spent in cask delivered flavours of ‘wood, dried floral and citrus peels’ and a ‘comforting finish that reminded me almost of a blended Scotch’.”
In addition, Nankai Shochu received a Gold medal at the Asian Spirits Masters for its vacuum-distilled low-proof shochu. From the results:
“The shochu is a vacuum‐distilled kokuto shochu, made from 80% black sugar and 20% rice. The spirit had a ‘wonderfully fruit‐driven nose with some tropical aromas, such as pineapple, mango, black grape and guava’, Rodriguez noted. ‘This feels like a good introduction into the lighter world of shochu.'”
With Japanese whisky creating a curious and explosive demand for Japanese spirits, shochu is highly anticipated to be the next big export from Japan. Single-distilled and handcrafted, shochu is the epitome of a craft spirit. With big wins at the Asian Spirits Masters, Nankai Shochu and Nankai Gold hope to find new fans in the US and the UK.
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