Black koji mold and Thai rice
Awamori’s special characteristic is using black koji.
Black koji mold produces a large amount of citric acid in the process of making alcohol, which has a great feature of suppressing decay caused by germs. It must have taken a long time for predecessors to master and realize black koji mold is the most suited for making alcohol in warm and humid Okinawa.
Whole koji preparation.
The raw ingredient of Thai rice is made into rice koji by using black koji, and then add water and yeast to make moromi (solid mass of swollen rice grains), then it is fermented for about 2 weeks. This is a simple production recipe called “whole koji preparation” (in Japanese Zen-koji shikomi) which a distinctive process in awamori making.
The distillation machine is determined to use “pot stills”. This is because the pot still allows the ingredients in moromi to blend well with the steam, and the flavor of the raw ingredients is reflected on to the spirit without losing its flavor.
Kusu (Old liquor)
The greatest feature of kusu is that the ingredients are aged by long-term preservation. As the year adds on, it improves its flavor and mellowness.
Awamori that preserved for more than 3 years is called “Kusu”. It is possible to preserve 100 years or 200 years but it is very rare to see alcohols like this in the world.
Most of kusu over a hundred years old were lost in the World War II but awamori made after the war, which are 20 to 30 years old are also rich in flavor and sweet scented that are highly valued.