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Founded in 1902! “Sakimoto Shuzo,” a Historic Distillery in Shuri, Continues to Produce Awamori with Unchanged Flavor
post : 2018.01.10 18:00
“The flavor and aroma of Awamori that we produce differs depending on each person’s feeling and physical condition of the day.”
Kei Sakumoto, the president of a distillery “Sakimoto Shuzo,” told me. The distillery has been producing Awamori since its establishment in 1902 with the unchanged process. Presently, it is possible to do all the process and management with one button. However, staffs at Sakimoto Shuzo do not use machines much. They rely on knowledge, experience, and instinct by Touji (the expert of producing Awamori), and this is how they follow its original flavor.
Once you drink the Awamori, a mellow aroma spreads throughout the mouth. Usually most distilleries add water and yeast to malted rice, and then ferment them for about 14 days. As for Sakimoto Shuzo, it takes 19 -20 days (or 25 days). By fermenting them slowly, there is no need to take time and effort on yeast, so it helps to produce Awamori with rich aroma.
Another rule on producing Awamori is “coarse filtration.” The reason to do filtration is because oil component is contained in undiluted Awamori, and it can be the cause of unfavorable taste in Awamori. Its flavor and aroma change depending on how it gets filtered. It gets smoother and easy to drink after repeating filtration, but its flavor and aroma will be removed. Sakimoto Shuzo does coarse filtration by using cloth filter, so it helps to remain its rich flavor and aroma.
It would be great to take a tour of Sakimoto Shuzo when you come to Okinawa (if you were lucky, you can see when the process of producing Awamori!). You can try Awamori tasting after the tour, so you might able to find your favorite one after tasting different types of Awamori.
The characteristic of Awamori at Sakimoto Shuzo is its full of flavor. “After my customers try it once, they get attracted by its gorgeous and unique flavor, and purchase our products repeatedly,” said Sakumoto. “Sakimoto (40% / 30% / 25%),” an Awamori product that they produce, features well-balanced, smooth, and fruity flavor. It is a popular product among Awamori beginners and lovers.
The most attractive part of Awamori is that its flavor gets better after storing it many years more and more (30% and more Awamori is suitable for long-aged Awamori). To seek out and enjoy difference, how about purchasing 2 same Awamori? One is for drinking right away, and the other is for storing to enjoy in the future.
Sweetness, aroma, and acidity are contained in Awamori of Sakimoto Shuzo. It is recommended for those consumers who believe “Awamori tastes all the same to me/us.”
Address: 1-25 Shuri Torihori-cho, Naha City
Tour of Sakihama Shuzo
Tel: 0120-78-3910 (reservation via telephone required for a party of 5 and more)
Hours of tour: 9:30-12:00 / 13:00-16:30 (the time required for 20 min.)
Closed: Sun & Japanese National Holidays
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Sachiko