First aged awamori from domestic rice goes on market

Miyanohana, an awamori distillery on Irabu Island off Miyako, started Apr. 17th to sell a new variety of 10-year-aged awamori a.k.a. kusu, labeled “Toori-Ike.” The difference to traditional awamori is that the new variety is brewed using domestic instead of imported Thai rice as the basic ingredient.

The rice is a variety called “Hino-Hikari” from Kumamoto Prefecture. It’s 100 percent organic with no fertilizers or pesticides used in the cultivation.

The new awamori has alcohol content of 30% and it’s sold in 500ml bottles.

According to the distillery, the new awamori is sweet, with a hint of the aroma of vanilla and caramel.

The introduction of Toori-Ike marks the first time kusu made from domestic rice is sold in Okinawa.

The company has made awamori labeled “Udhisan-no-Sake” using domestic rice in the past. A part of the production was put aside to mature, and now having aged for 10 years, was bottled and put on the market by Miyanohana with its own label.

Sakuei Yamahara, a production staff member at Miyanohana distillery, said, “Awamori made from Thai rice has a rich taste, but awamori made from domestic rice is dry and sharp.”

The label of the awamori, Toori-Ike, refers to a scenic spot on Shimoji Island that is adjacent to Irabu.

Miyanohana President Saori Shimoji says, “My late father left this awamori, which is why I have a deep attachment to it. We hope to continue selling this awamori as it becomes available after maturing in our pot storage.”