Moriizou Shochu（森伊蔵 かめ壷焼酎）
April 26, 2015
I must be a very lucky person because I received the same wonderful bottle of shochu from two different friends in one month. Especially if it is the hard-to-get premium imo-shochu from Moriizou (Kagoshima, Japan).
You can only buy this shochu directly from the distillery, and only if you win a special lottery. You can sign-up for the lottery from the 15th to the 25th of each month and if you win, you will be able to buy just one bottle. The odds are very dismal. However, you can also purchase it on Japan Airlines international flights from March to May. And if you are lucky to be able to travel first class with JAL, you can drink it in the cabin for free. I got one from my friend who flew to Hawaii from Japan for our friends' wedding. And then a few weeks later another good friend came to visit me in Japan and brought me another bottle from their JAL flight.
The original sale price is not expensive. It is only Y2,225 (about $20) for a 1.8 L bottle which is an average price for shochu. But people selling them through an auction or broker are easily getting up to $300 per bottle.
This shochu is made with organic sweet potato and the distillery has been using a traditional and very time consuming method to create a sweet, rich and deep flavor. I have tested this shochu already in Hawaii with my friend and it was indeed flavorful and easy to drink. For now, I will keep my bottles for a special occasion.
Sometimes hypes creates some illusions but in this case, the hype is matched by the taste. I would not call it the best shochu ever but it certainly is one of the best.