NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- iichiko, Japan's leading barley shochu brand, today announces its iichiko Saiten "Go for the Gold" U.S. Bartender Cocktail Competition. Open to professional bartenders in North America, entries will be inspired by Olympic sports. The Gold Medal Grand Prize, to be awarded in May 2020, is an all-expenses paid trip for the winner and their guest to Japan. Full competition details will be announced in January 2020.
"We are excited to unleash the creativity of the U.S. bartending community," says Daniel Mandelbaum, VP of Marketing, Davos Brands. "iichiko has long been synonymous with shochu in Japan. We look forward to bartenders creating innovative cocktail recipes that will make iichiko Saiten relevant to the wider drinks world as a highly versatile cocktail base."
iichiko Saiten (SRP $29.99/43% ABV/750ml) is a pioneering higher-proof shochu that is optimized for mixology. It has captured the imaginations of American bartenders at the vanguard of the craft mixology scene since launching nationwide in Summer 2019. Produced on Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, iichiko Saiten was developed with insights from top U.S. bartenders.
While shochu is traditionally bottled at around 25% ABV, iichiko Saiten, at 43% ABV, is comparable in proof to Western spirits like vodka, tequila, gin and rum. A unique clear spirit, iichiko Saiten is rich in flavor and umami character, resulting in genuinely innovative cocktails. It is produced by Sanwa Shurui, Co., Ltd., one of Japan's most esteemed producers of shochu, sake and wine. In the U.S., Davos Brands imports iichiko Saiten.
Tasting Notes on iichiko Saiten
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. 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.
An Artisanal Shochu from a Pristine Prefecture
iichiko Saiten is produced in Oita Prefecture, known for its pristine nature. Its pure spring water is filtered through more than 10 layers of volcanic rock extending approximately 1,000 feet below ground, which contributes to iichiko Saiten's smoothness.
Koji and the Koji Project
iichiko has perfected the art and science of Koji, a sweet and fragrant mold that is generally inoculated into rice. Koji's diastatic enzymes transform the grain's starch into sugar, thereby setting the stage for fermentation, and give rise to robust flavors. iichiko's unique strain of Koji is cultivated under laboratory-grade, clean room conditions. While rice Koji is typically used to make shochu, as well as sake, iichiko has broken new ground by cultivating barley Koji. This innovation truly sets the company's shochu apart from other producers.
To enjoy and deepen the knowledge of Koji through fermentation technique and creativity, iichiko developed the Koji Project, which identifies its four key components:
- Craft: the technical aspects of Koji in spirits production
- Culture: the ubiquity of Koji in Japanese food and drinks
- Regional: How Koji is localized
- Nature: The impact of the surrounding environment on Koji and Koji's role in fermentation
Barley Par Excellence
iichiko Saiten is made with hand-selected, two-row barley. About 30 percent of the total weight of the barley's kernel is removed through polishing, ensuring a clean and pure flavor. iichiko is one of a few producers to embrace the Zen Koji (all Koji) fermentation technique. In Zen Koji fermentation, barley Koji is used instead of steamed barley as a source of nutrition in the fermentation mash. Moreover, a proprietary yeast is introduced, whereby the aroma and flavor derived from the barley are enhanced, making for a richer, more robust and aromatic shochu.
A True Honkaku Shochu
iichiko Saiten is a true honkaku shochu, which is distilled only once and no artificial additives or sweeteners are permitted. Moreover, the single distillation better preserves the flavors created during fermentation, as opposed to multiple distillations that strip them out.
Low Pressure and Atmospheric Distillation
In producing iichiko Saiten, iichiko employs two methods of stainless steel pot still distillation: Gen-atsu (low pressure distillation) and Jo-atsu (atmospheric distillation). Gen-atsu enables a lower boiling point, thereby concentrating only light and delicate aromas and flavors. Jo-atsu is at a higher temperature and captures various robust flavors of the mash. A careful and harmonious blending of both distillates is employed for iichiko Saiten.
iichiko is Japan's leading producer of barley shochu, Japan's revered spirit. A global icon, it is the 23rd largest spirits brand in the world. Headquartered in Oita Prefecture on Japan's Kyushu Island, iichiko sets the gold standard for shochu. Using proprietary Koji, yeast, pristine spring water, two-row pearled barley, as well as low pressure and atmospheric distillation techniques, the company has produced a range of blended shochus, including iichiko Saiten, the first mixology-friendly shochu. Produced by Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd., iichiko is sold throughout Japan and in 30 countries worldwide. In the U.S., iichiko is imported by Davos Brands. For more information, please visit www.iichiko.com, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iichikoUSA/, on Twitter at @iichiko_Shochu and on Instagram at @iichiko_usa.
ABOUT Davos Brands
Our mission is to build and develop the highest quality, best in class wine and spirits brands that create a meaningful and valuable connection with consumers. We do this through teamwork, passion, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and relentless perseverance. The Davos Brands team members are recognized to be amongst the best performers in the industry; the team operates in a collegiate, open-structure, and dynamic mode. Our team thinks out of the box and finds ways to obtain outstanding results through an entrepreneurial focus. Based in New York, the Davos Brands luxury portfolio is currently composed of TY KU Sake, Aviation Gin, Sombra Mezcal, Astral Tequila, Balcones Distilling and iichiko Shochu. Visit www.DavosBrands.com for more information.