What is Awamori?
Awamori is Japan’s oldest distilled liquor,
and is made from long-grain indica rice, yeast and black koji culture of Okinawan origin. The distillation technique was introduced into the Ryukyu Kingdom (present day Okinawa) through trade with China and Southeast Asia in the early 15th century. Since then it has been improved and refined to be savored and celebrated. Awamori shows the greatest charm when aged. A Iong, undisturbed maturation deepens the taste and flavor. The more it matures, the milder it becomes.
When it is aged for three years or more, it is called “kusu”, or aged awamori. Awamori can be presen/ed for several decades, after which you will find it even more mild in taste and flavor.
Black Koji Culture-
the Key to Awamori
wamori uses an active culture, aspergillus awamori, also known as black koji, in contrast to mainland Japanese liquors that use white koji culture. The black koji culture produces a large amount of citric acid that keeps awamori free from unhealthy and unwanted by-products.
The black koji grows throughout the year in the subtropics of Okinawa, unlike the white koji that generally grows only in winter in northern
Japan, meaning that awamori can be produced year-round.
It is also said that the black koji is what produces the mellow aroma of awamori.
Additives are never used nor alcohol added to produce awamori; only rice, water, yeast, and black koji culture, all of the highest quality,
are used. Kumejima’s Kumesen uses clear water from pure Doga spring for particularly tasteful awamori.
Careful manufacturing techniques of Kumejima’s Kumesen are also responsible for producing the nice-tasting awamori. To take advantage of the live ingredients such as yeast and black koji culture, underground spring water and a natural breeze, instead of refrigeration, are used to cool the mash. The mash is stirred gently by hand.
Kumejima’s Kumesen employs optimal methods to keep the savor of the ingredients. The mash is heated indirectly and distilled at normal pressure using a single pot still. This is unique to Okinawa and developed through long experience.
The distillation produces mellow liquor. It becomes mellower with maturation. Until its shipment, Kumejima’s Kumesen brand awamori sleeps soundly in tanks or earthenware pots to enhance its appeal even further.
Alcoholic drinks are classified into two types according to their production process as follows