iichiko Shochu is the native spirit of Japan – a white spirit that’s incredibly rich in flavor, yet smooth and easy to drink with food.
iichiko is made from 100% two-row barley, fermented with koji. Koji is the traditional secret behind Japanese foods famous for umami, like miso and soy sauce.
iichiko is a true expression of a pristine natural environment. iichiko is crafted in Oita Prefecture on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island – a region famous for its clean air, lush greenery, dense cedar forests, mountainous terrain, and geothermal springs.
iichiko uses water sources that are naturally filtered through 1000 feet of volcanic rock. This exceptionally soft, iron-free water is vital to making award-winning shochu.
iichiko is the result of a true harmony between nature and science. These natural elements are paired with cutting-edge technology and clean production techniques that ensure quality and consistency. This allows iichiko to be distilled only once, to preserve maximum flavor and character, but with an elegant, aromatic nose and a very smooth finish.
iichiko, pronounced EACH-ko, derives from a dialect spoken in the Oita Prefecture of Japan and translates to "it’s great."
iichiko is a Honkaku Shochu, the highest grade of shochu. This grade can only use one type of ingredient, can only be distilled once to preserve rich flavor and character, and no sweeteners or additives can be used. iichiko uses 100% two-row barley in its shochu, known as mugi (barley) shochu. This barley is polished to remove impurities and unlock the characteristic flavor and character of barley.
iichiko is distilled in Oita Prefecture on Kyushu Island, Japan's southernmost region. Oita is famous for its pristine environment and geothermal springs, and iichiko uses water naturally filtered through over 1,000 feet of volcanic rock. This soft, iron-free water is used to steep the barley. The barley is then steamed to prepare it for the conversion process from starch to sugar.
Koji is the secret behind shochu - it's how iichiko can be so rich in flavor, character, and aroma but still so smooth and easy to drink. Koji kickstarts the conversion process from starch to sugar, and also releases citric acid that serves to preserve the barley's flavor during the process. Koji is also the secret to unlocking umami - different strains of Koji are central to crafting soy sauce to miso and throughout Japanese cuisine. Shochu yeast is then added to the converted sugar, converting it into alcohol.
For Honkaku Shochu like iichiko, the moromi (mash) is distilled only once. iichiko employs two distinct distillation methods to create a special, balanced shochu. Gen-atsu (low pressure) distillation creates elegant, delicate, smoother flavors and an aromatic nose. Jo-atsu (atmospheric) distillation creates more robust, richer flavors. These raw shochus are then blended to create the unique expressions of iichiko shochu.
In 1958, three family companies merged to form Sanwa (san for ‘three’, wa for ‘harmony’). A fourth family joined the following year, and the newly formed company produced a diverse range of sake, wine, and shochu. In 1979, iichiko debuted as a shochu made from 100% barley and distilled only once – a premium class of shochu known as honkaku shochu. Today, iichiko is the leading brand of barley shochu in Japan.
The Japanese concept of wa, or harmony, continues to be a guiding principle for iichiko today. A spirit of open, honest communication has allowed iichiko to continue to innovate and create award-winning products. And while iichiko’s distillation and bottling facilities are some of the most advanced in the world, the company continues to enjoy a family environment where everyone from the executives to new hires feel a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to excellence.
Crafted specifically for the modern bartender, iichiko Saiten is a full-flavored expression of shochu that is perfect for cocktails at 43% ABV (alcohol by volume).
On the nose, iichiko Saiten is redolent with aromas of honeydew melon, white grape, pickled watermelon rind and kabosu citrus. There are also hints of soy, white pepper and rich barley notes.
On the palate, iichiko Saiten has a strong start and a long finish. It exudes rich umami notes of jasmine tea, white peach, minerals and earth with some citrus and a saline finish that beckons another sip. Its complex flavors offer exciting options for mixing in cocktails.
iichiko Saiten was awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the recipient of a 94 Point rating at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
iichiko Silhouette is the traditional expression of shochu and Japan’s #1 shochu brand. Lighter and eminently drinkable, Silhouette pairs well with a wide range of cuisines and is traditionally enjoyed with food, at 25% ABV (alcohol by volume).
Silhouette is enjoyed straight or on the rocks; served with water (both cold and hot); served in a chu-hi (or shochu highball) mixed with soda and fruit juice; or served with oolong tea or matcha tea. Silhouette can also be a versatile base for low-alcohol cocktails.
iichiko Silhouette was awarded a Gold at the L.A International Spirits Competition and a Silver medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
iichiko Shochu is available from local or online retailers.
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