New Kind of Spirits
Often, umeshu is incorrectly translated as “plum wine". A more accurate term is plum liquor. Traditionally, it's made by steeping plums in neutral spirits such as korui (multi-distilled) shochu. Making umeshu does not involve any actual fermentation or distillation (which is illegal to do at home), so it's the only type of alcohol consumers can legally "make" and consume at home in Japan.
Nakano BC now has a new spirit called Kayuki aimed at taking things to the next level. This spirit is made by adding a further 'distillation' process to the original plum liquor (20% alcohol by volume) made from Nanko plums from Wakayama Prefecture, to extract only the concentrated, gorgeous aroma of the plums and the alcohol content. Distillation process also removes sweetness, so if you're not a fan of the sugary umeshu, but want to enjoy the taste and aroma of ume, KAYUKI is definitely a must-try!
Origin of KAYUKI
February, when it is still chilly, is the time when the plum trees start blooming. In Minabe-cho, Wakayama Prefecture, where plum groves are located, plum blossoms have been loved as a sight that heralds the arrival of spring a little earlier. In Zen language, plums are deeply related to snow and they are called by another name 'kosetsu' (香雪), which literally means "fragrant snow". Plum blossoms start to flower earlier than any other flower, sensing the slightest lull in temperature, but often snow falls after they have bloomed.
The product was named KAYUKI (same kanji but different reading) in reference to the fragrance of the plum blossom, which is also a characteristic of the product. The name KAYUKI also evokes the image of a plum blossom bud on a snow-covered branch.