A rare shochu from the Miyazaki Prefecture, Miyazaki Kinmiya is an incredibly unique brew that is made from the very molasses (sugar cane) that the Miyazaki region is so well known for. The brewing team at Miyazaki Honten is blessed with the pure underground water from the neighboring Suzaka Mountain Range. Responsible for both the flagship sake line Miyanoyuki and the distilled shochu brand we will be talking about today, Miyazaki Honten has long valued their traditional brewing process but unlike other historic breweries across Japan, they have shown a willingness to modernize and integrate protocols including waste management and other environmental exercises. Originally founded in 1846, and further established in 1951, the Miyazaki Honten is an intimate close-knit brewery with only 73 full-time employees! As a result of the water from the Suzaka Mountain Range being so clean and mild, it gives the shochu a pure and clear flavor, further showcasing a delicate texture accompanied by a mild sweetness. Packaged in a smaller yet beautifully designed bottle, I was excited to taste this shochu that has gained widespread respect across the Japanese islands.
The brewery itself recommends this shochu be served either chilled or warmed, but after experimenting it became clear that warming this sugar cane brew was the right move. For more information on how to serve shochu, read our how to serve shochu blog here. Warming the shochu brought out a sweeter and softer taste that truly emphasized the light and creamy taste profile that I expected out of a beverage made with molasses. After a few sips, it became quite apparent that this shochu had a noticeably alcoholic taste (20%) yet remained incredibly smooth all the way down. In Japan, Miyazaki Kinmiya is an oft-used base liquor for a contraption known as Chuhai (shochu with soda), which gives adventurous and prospective drinkers even more combinations! A pure and clean shochu like this one gives ample opportunities for food pairings. My tasting party and I opted for yakitori skewers and we were all very impressed at how the shochu enhanced the yakitori flavoring and didn’t distract us with a wild combination of competing taste notes.
Overall, this molasses derived shochu is quite the beverage and I would recommend it to both newcomers to the sake space as well as those trying to expand their shochu horizons. If you are looking for a clean and smooth liquor that pairs well with any type of cuisine, look no further than this Miyazaki Kinmiya.