Discovering Kamikawa Shuzo: Crafting Excellence in Shochu
Established in 1963 alongside the scenic Kaminokawa River in Onejime-cho, Kimotsuki-gun (now Kinko-cho), Kamikawa Shuzo has a rich history. Originally founded by the Yamanokuchi family, the brewery's reins were later taken up by the visionary minds behind the Kojika Brewery Cooperative Association.
Despite its modest team of just 8 dedicated individuals, Kamikawa Shuzo has carved a niche for itself as a producer of unparalleled shochu. Rooted in an unwavering commitment to embracing the gifts of nature and the warmth of the Osumi region's inhabitants, Kamikawa Brewery takes pride in meticulously crafting each batch of shochu, infused with the joyous anticipation of its imbibers. This small-scale operation harnesses the finesse of traditional craftsmanship to create exquisite sweet potato shochu that's a true testament to their artistry.
Moriizo: A Shochu of Enigmatic Rarity
Moriizo, a shochu born from organically nurtured sweet potatoes sourced from Kagoshima Prefecture, is produced using the renowned kametsubo brewing technique (aging in large clay pots). Retailing officially at 2,808 yen for a 1,800 ml bottle, this elusive beverage is subject to a lottery sale held on the 15th of each month. Its legendary scarcity has led to it being referred to as the "phantom shochu," coveted by many yet possessed by few. Astoundingly, the rarity of Moriizo has propelled its market value to reach jaw-dropping figures ranging from 18,000 to an astonishing 300 million yen per bottle, frequently making appearances in internet auctions.
Kindred Spirits: Moriizo and Kamikawa Shuzo's Bessen Kamigawa
The connection between Moriizo and Kamikawa Shuzo's Bessen Kamigawa runs deep. These two iconic shochu are forged side by side, harnessing the same foundational elements. Both employ the prized Kogane Sengan sweet potatoes, sourced from the same fertile soil and nourished by the same crystalline river waters. The "kametsubo brewing" method, Moriizo's signature technique, finds its roots in both creations.
For those seeking a shochu reminiscent of the ethereal essence of Moriizo, Bessen Kamikawa emerges as a sterling recommendation. Much like Moriizo, celebrated for its subtle character and aromatic intensity, Bessen Kamikawa exudes a harmonious elegance. The connoisseur will discover in Bessen Kamikawa a balanced symphony of flavors, often rivaling, if not surpassing, the allure of Moriizo.