Thoughts on the Displayed Products
As the name describes, this rice shochu is aged in barrels. ‘Yamakawa' is aged for more than five years in oak and sherry casks before being blended. When poured into a glass, its beautiful amber color is eye-catching. When you put your nose close to it, you can smell the sweet flavor of sherry in the forest aroma, just like a whiskey.
"Even those who don't like shochu can enjoy this one," says Mr. Miyazaki confidently. This is backed up by the fact that it won a gold medal at the Whiskey Spirits Competition held in Tokyo in 2022. The standard way to drink it is on the rocks or with water, but "recently, more and more people are drinking it with club soda," he says. "Please enjoy it the way you like."
Driving through Hitoyoshi City, you will see signs everywhere with the name 'Yamakawa' that means "mountain river." The name 'Yamakawa' comes from the scenery of the mountains that surround the Hitoyoshi Kuma region, and the Kumagawa River that flows through the center of the Hitoyoshi Basin. 'Yamakawa' is a well-loved local shochu brand.
"To dispel the image that shochu has a strong smell" says master distiller Masayuki Miyazaki, "we distill the spirit at as low a temperature as possible. By not raising the temperature too high, we are able to create a gorgeous aroma with a clean, refreshing taste." Because it is a fresh and light shochu, it can be drank with water or on the rocks, but Mr. Miyazaki recommends drinking it with hot water. "The aroma of the rice that comes through your nose when it is warmed up is irresistible. Even in summer time, I drink it with hot water" he says emphatically.