The New Spirit
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The New Spirit
“For centuries, the people on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu have been accustomed to drinking shochu – a spirit that dates back to the 16th century.
Local distilleries all over the island of Kyushu continue to produce small batches of this spirit, still made the same way they have been for hundreds of years. Every batch is as extraordinary as the people who distil them.
Our mission at Kyushu Spirits is to forge a consortium of these distilling families, so we can help keep our authentic recipes alive for future generations to savour.
By respecting our distilleries’ traditional ways, individual recipes, and fermentation methods, Kyushu Spirits is able to craft hybrid spirits, exclusively from Japan.”
To complement their mastery, our whisky makers have the volcanic soil of Kyushu beneath them. Rich in minerals and fed by crystal-clear springs and rivers, it’s long been considered some of the best farmland in the whole of Japan. A whisky is only as good as the ingredients that go into it. That’s why only locally sourced grains such as barley, buckwheat, and rice from Kyushu are used. Combined with wood ageing and the same koji fermentation process pioneered by their ancestors before them, the resulting whiskies are truly unique in balance and flavour.
WHAT MAKES OUR
UNIQUE VS OTHER
What makes the real difference is the unique role of koji in the traditional fermentation process that our distilleries use. For the uninitiated, koji is used in place of the standard malting process to start our grain fermentation. Koji gives the whisky its rich aroma and a characteristic flavour that’s as individual as the person who drinks it.
A new spirit. The Kyushu Spirits Corporation is where East and West meet – with remarkable results. By combining centuries of distilling expertise from Japan’s island of Kyushu with some equally well- established Western techniques, the Kyushu Spirits Corporation has been able to create a range of truly ground-breaking hybrid spirits.
Asakura Premium is created in a single distillery (similar to Scottish Single Malts). The master distiller carefully selects casks that provide the smoothest and tastiest whiskies to carry the Asakura name. Asakura Premium is distilled from 100% local Japanese barley (mugi), which is just the start of the Asakura Premium journey. It is matured in oak sherry casks, which combined with traditional koji fermentation endows a distinctively smooth taste and texture unique to Asakura Premium – a new taste that’s been centuries in the making.
Asakura Premium radiates a deep golden hue resembling the barley fields of Japan in autumn, Asakura seduces the senses with scents of honey, vanilla, and a touch of coconut from the oak, which are accentuated by subtle notes of citrus zest and cinnamon on the palate. To drink Asakura is to indulge in the spirit of Southern Japan.
The Kyushu Cowboy is available in a series of expressions, each unique in flavour and colour, and each capturing the origin of the distillery where it was crafted.
Why cowboys? Cowboys are known for their rugged nature and brazen approach. Just as the Old West had its cowboys, the island of Kyushu has its ‘danji’. These Kyushu danji, or cowboys, built a reputation dating back to the days of the samurai for being hot-blooded and toughened by a hard living. They are proud to be known for their passion for life, food, and liquor. The Kyushu Cowboys conform only to their own set of rules.
Inoue. The lightest of the three Cowboys in terms of colour and strength, The Inoue is made using local Japanese barley.
With its bright straw colour, The Inoue expression of Kyushu Cowboy draws you in with an understated bouquet of toasted nutmeg and clove, which evolve into soft sensations of vanilla-infused toffee. Perfect for any moment, The Inoue is approachable, yet delightfully complex.
The Shinozaki also uses local barley as its base grain, spending time in charred oak barrels to mature.
An enticing light amber, The Shinozaki expression of Kyushu Cowboy teases the nose with soft hints of vanilla, star anise, and sea salt, which develop into delicately sweet tones of salted caramel. Showing a refined balance, The Shinozaki serves as a beautiful complement to any meal, whether before, during, or after.
To make the more strongly-flavoured Toyonaga, barley is replaced with 100% local rice.
The deep amber tone of The Toyonaga expression of Kyushu Cowboy is a foreshadowing of things to come, with its full earthy aromas and robust flavours of leather and charred oak contrasted by hints of marzipan and cacao. Inspiring intrigue in even the most experienced drinkers, The Toyonaga will elevate any evening.
Inspired by tradition and history, our Japanese partner distilleries are now creating whiskies and spirits by combining traditional Japanese fermentation techniques and Western ageing methods, extracting new tastes and flavours in the process to create a ‘New Spirit of Japan’.
Our Toyonaga Distillery was established in 1894 in the prefecture of Kumamoto, which lies on the edge of the Hitoyoshi Basin. The basin lies almost equidistant from both Mount Aso to the north and Sakurajima to the south, two of Japan’s most active volcanoes. Due to its topography and weather patterns, the Hitoyoshi Basin is lightly dusted by the ash plumes, making the region some of the most fertile farmland this far south in Kyushu, Japan.
The Toyonaga Distillery sources all of its rice from this fertile basin, known as Kuma mai (Kuma rice), and has its own rice field. This special rice grain has managed to grow itself well in this high ash content region. This tiny family-run distillery, which sits close to the headwaters of the Kuma River, is a fourth generation run establishment, and the family head Mr. Jiro Toyonaga is the master distiller himself.
This distillery uses a vacuum pressure distillation system to produce the 2020 SIP Award winning Kyushu Cowboy Toyonaga Koji Whisky.
Our Inoue Distillery, originally established in 1894, was further expanded in 1994 to include the Sakuranosato Distillery to expand its production output. The Sakuranosato Distillery is based in the hot-spring town of Kitagou-cho in Nichinan, prefecture of Miyazaki, and sits next to the Hiroto river surrounded by lushes green mountains.
Run by the Inoue family and a third generation establishment, it has become known fairly quickly for its quality aged spirits all over Japan. Its master distiller is Mr. Mera Inoue, who is the present generation family member.
With his discipline on quality and aging, Mr. Inoue produced the 2020 SIP Award winning Kyushu Cowboy Inoue Koji Whisky.
Our Shinozaki Distillery was originally established during the late Edo period of 1820 in the region of Asakura, prefecture of Fukuoka. The area is one of the top grain-producing regions of Kyushu.
The distillery sits near the Chikugo River and also receives the subsoil water from Mount Aso and its underground spring waters. This medium sized family distillery is an eighth generation
establishment, which has undergone two
administrative restructures due to the local
prohibition period during the Meiji reforms.
The present master distiller is a family member, Mr. Michiyaki Shinozaki, who produced the 2020 SIP Award winning, Kyushu Cowboy Shinozaki Koji Whisky.