We at drinkingjapan.org fully understand that chestnuts are not a symbol of spring and that it would be seasonally inappropriate to sing this song in April. However, we are passionate about chestnuts and would like to take this opportunity to introduce a wonderful and somewhat rare type of shochu made with the Japanese chestnut, kuri (栗）.
Recently we tried Dabada Hiburi (ダバダ火振）from Mutemuka brewery in Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Kochi has the third largest yield of chestnuts following Ibaraki and Kumamoto prefectures. The Kitahata region of Kochi is the largest producer of chestnuts in the prefecture, and the Dabada Hiburi product was introduced by Mutemuka in order to take advantage of the local produce. Dabada Hiburi consists 50% of chestnuts (local), followed by barley, rice (domestic), and rice koji (domestic). It is considered otsurui shochu (乙類焼酎), which means that it is made by single distillation, which results in a variety of aromas and flavors, as compared with the other type of shochu, korui shochu (甲類焼酎), which is made from continuous distillation and results in a neutral spirit.
Tasting notes: Fresh and fruity ( peach) on the nose; hint of chestnut and candy. No barley notes. Smooth, significant legs. A shochu that can be enjoyed on the rocks in the summer.
Fun fact: “Hiburi” refers to a traditional method of fishing in Kochi, in which torches are swung around, driving ayu (鮎), or sweetfish, into a net. This method of fishing is practiced on the Shimanto River (四万十川), which runs very close to the brewery. “Daba” means “to gather” in the local dialect.
Mutemuka brewery: https://mutemuka.com/