Shōchū is a Japanese distilled beverage less than 45% alcohol by volume. It is typically distilled from rice (kome), barley (mugi), sweet potatoes (satsuma-imo), buckwheat (soba), or brown sugar (kokutō), though it is sometimes produced from other ingredients such as chestnut, sesame seeds, potatoes or even carrots. Iichiko, owned by Sanwara Shurui, is the leading shochu brand in the world.
In 1958, three family companies merged to form Sanwa (san for ‘three’, wa for ‘harmony’). A fourth family joined the following year, and the newly formed company produced a diverse range of sake, wine, and shochu. In 1979, iichiko debuted as a shochu made from 100% barley and distilled only once – a premium class of shochu known as honkaku shochu.
The Japanese concept of wa, or harmony, continues to be a guiding principle for iichiko today. A spirit of open, honest communication has allowed iichiko to continue to innovate and create award-winning products. And while iichiko’s distillation and bottling facilities are some of the most advanced in the world, the company continues to enjoy a family environment where everyone from the executives to new hires feel a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to excellence.
Iichiko has two different types of shochu: iichiko Saiten and iichiko Silhouette
Crafted specifically for the modern bartender, iichiko Saiten is a full-flavored expression of shochu that is perfect for cocktails at 43% ABV (alcohol by volume). On the nose, iichiko Saiten is redolent with aromas of honeydew melon, white grape, pickled watermelon rind and kabosu citrus. There are also hints of soy, white pepper and rich barley notes.
On the palate, iichiko Saiten has a strong start and a long finish. It exudes rich umami notes of jasmine tea, white peach, minerals and earth with some citrus and a saline finish that beckons another sip. Its complex flavors offer exciting options for mixing in cocktails.
iichiko Silhouette is the traditional expression of shochu and Japan’s #1 shochu brand. Lighter and eminently drinkable, Silhouette pairs well with a wide range of cuisines and is traditionally enjoyed with food, at 25% ABV (alcohol by volume).
Silhouette is enjoyed straight or on the rocks; served with water (both cold and hot); served in a chu-hi (or shochu highball) mixed with soda and fruit juice; or served with oolong tea or matcha tea. Silhouette can also be a versatile base for low-alcohol cocktails.
According to Statista and iichiko.com