Shochu is a spirit that spans four hundred years of history and I’ve dusted off a bottle to try myself. Okay, my Haamonii Smooth Lemon Shochu bottle isn’t four hundred years old but it’s based on ancient tradition and Haamonii has brought their own recipe to the industry known has Haamonii Smooth.
This spirit, also known as soju, is a Japanese distilled spirit much like that of vodka but it brings its own natural tastes to the party instead of staying “neutral” in flavor. Shochu flavors are subtle yet distinct and, although I’ve reviewed Haamonii Smooth, this is my first attempt at a Lemon Haamonii Smooth review.
Poured in a glass you’ll find Haamoni (“Harmony” in Japanese) to be clear in color much like that of a well distilled vodka. The nose of Haamonii’s Lemon Shochu reminds me of sprite cola. A deeper sniff gives me the essence of a lemon zest as if it were dripping off the glass itself but with less potent acids. This is undoubtedly lemon.
The taste is more subtle than I had expected. Upon first sip, I cringed expecting the finish to bite but I was far from on the mark, I should have remembered my first Shochu review which proved equivalent in smoothness and roundness. The liquid viscosity is smooth and thick almost like a frozen vodka or sambuca without the alcohol of vodka and the sweet of sambuca… so really nothing like it at all, it’s Shochu!
The initial attack is muted lemon with a semi-sweet citrus mid-palate transition followed by a great lemon finish that lasts about a minute and a half. This isn’t the most dynamic beverage as it really takes on the profile of a lemon without the sour impact of the fruit on the tongue. It’s as if Haamoni Smooth Lemon Shochu has captured all the great flavors of lemon without the negative sour unbalanced assault.
While you can sip this neat or on ice, it compliments a cocktail extremely well. Any citrus vodka can be smoothed to completion with Lemon Shochu while still bringing some alcohols to the party. This Shochu is 22% ABV, that’s almost half the alcohol you’ll find in a vodka. If you’re looking for a delightful cocktail experience, Lemon Shochu will aim to please but if you’re looking to get stone cold drunk, you’ll want to stick with the vodka. Personally, I’m past the desire to get drunk just to get drunk, I’d rather have a delicious cocktail.
This shochu has the flavors of a schnapps without the over-the-top sweetness while supporting a higher alcohol content than that of a schnapps. I highly suggest tasting Haamonii Smooth, it really shows a direction in spirits I’ve never seen with its taste profile and smoothness.
Here are two cocktail howto video’s from our show that utilize Haamonii Smooth Lemon Shochu. You can buy Haamonii Smooth Shochu at D&M online.