The secret behind iichiko's rich flavor and delicate taste lies in the way we make it, using only selected barley and pure water. First, we polish the barley grains, removing as much of 40 percent of the outer portion, until just a tiny global-shaped core remains. This eliminates the fat layer, which can cause an unpleasant taste and aroma, and provides the basis for iichiko's fresh, refined taste.
Next, we add water to part of this polished barley to create a mash, or moromi.But this is not just any water. It's pure water, drawn from a spring flowing below many layers of rock some 300 meters underground. This water is almost entirely free from iron, manganese and organic materials, which can undermine the flavor of shochu. At the same time, it contains just the right amounts of various minerals that are indispensable to achieving perfect shochu taste and aroma.
The remainder of the polished barley is converted to koji. Together with yeast, koji enables us to produce shochu with a rich taste and flavor. Another benefit of koji is its high citric acid content, which protects moromi from decomposition. This enables iichiko to retain its pure, refined taste throughout the lengthy fermentation process. Finally, we distill the fermented moromi into iichiko, employing a "single batch" distillation system. Although the moromi is distilled only once in this system, it involves two separate methods- a low-pressure method and an atmospheric-pressure method. The optimum balance our exrerienced brewmasters achieve between these two methods plays a key role in arriving at iichiko's exquisite taste. Once it is blended, filtered and bottled, iichiko shochu is ready to ship. We hope you'll enjoysome soon-and find out what we mean when we speak of its rich taste delicate flavor.
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