It’s always nice to pop in the local sake shop and pick up something new.
(Kuro Shiranami isn’t technically new—I think it’s been around for decades—but this was my first time to try it.)
Shiranami produces a fairly generic line of imojōchū (sweet potato shōchū) and other distilled products. This particular product—Kuro (黒, black), which is made with black kōji (麹) fermentation starter, has a deeper flavor and, can I say, body compared to imojōchū made with other types of kōji. (More on that later.)
Shiranami Kuro is a pleasant drink. Not off-putting like some other “kuro” imojōchū can sometimes be for those new to the drink and the price (less than ¥900) makes for affordable experimentation.
I can see myself buying this again.
Wait! Stop the presses! I have drunk Shiranami Kuro before. It's this shorter, stout bottle that's new to me. 720 ml instead of the usual 900 ml. I think I have been had. Oh, well. I enjoyed it all the same.
Satsuma Shiranami Kuro
Shiranami Kuro is produced by Satsuma Shuzō in Makurazaki, a small town of 22,000 located on the southern coast of the Satsuma peninsula. Makurazaki is famous for katsuo-bushi, dried bonito fish flakes, which is used to make soup stock. The whole town is said to smell of bonito. The terminus of JR’s southernmost train line is also located there.
The "kuro" in Kuro Shiranami, as I mentioned above, comes from the kuro kōji (black malt starter) used in the manufacturing process. Like Tomi no Hōzan and Satsuma Fuji, Kuro Shiranami is also made kogané sengan sweet potato. Shiranami's website says Kuro can be enjoyed mixed with water, hot water, on the rocks, or straight. Seems anything goes with this shōchū.