MUGI consists of five types of barley shochu genshu (undiluted shochu), with a unique combination of ageing method, distillation pressure, and koji ratio. Starting with a clear vision of a perfect blend, the process works backwards to construct the necessary component spirits to achieve the desired balance. By creating genshu aged in oak barrels, sherry butts, and stainless steel, each distilled at different pressures, it becomes possible to construct exacting flavor profiles.
The flavor resulting from the barrel is often the highlight of aged spirits. MUGI, however, achieves a unique balance between barrel and barley. By introducing non-barrel aged genshu into the blend, MUGI highlights the complex and enticing aromas that result from barley under a highly skilled fermentation.
Koji is a defining factors of shochu, and plays an integral role in shochu flavor development. A koji-based saccharification and the resulting multiple parallel fermentation permits a long mashing period, which allow for time for deep, complex flavors to develop. Reduced-pressure distillation is able to capture much of the lighter aromatics akin to sweet fruits, while the heat from atmospheric pressure distillation contributes to an enticing character reminiscent of freshly baked bread. The barrels add an overtone of caramelized depth, with a nod to cacao and vanilla.
While experimenting with whisky-style cocktails can be a good start, MUGI offers a level of versatility rarely associated with barrel-aged spirits. The fruity notes invite interpretations of brandy-based cocktails, while the overall lightness lends itself to be used in place of unaged spirits. MUGI's vanilla and cacao notes lend themselves to play well with cream, spices, tea, and coffee, whether it's used as a base spirit or simply as an accent. A wide range of temperatures brings out distinct expressions from the myriad of flavor elements at play.
Nose: Cacao, vanilla, oak
Palate: Medium bodied
Finish: Long, subtle finish