Sake, Shochu and Umeshu, now available at Wholly Spirits!

Wholly Spirits is proud to present our first ever offerings of premium and artisanal Japanese sake, shochu and umeshu.

These labels have been chosen for their artisanal craft, so you know they have the Wholly Spirits stamp of approval! You can get these sake and shochu HERE.

And remember, we also have a new range of natural wines and also craft beers, to go with our extensive portfolio of premium spirits and liqueurs.

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What is Sake?


1. Sake is made from rice, but not just any rice will do. In Japan, there are two different types of rice in – one for eating, and the other is solely for making sake. Did you know that there are over 50 types of rice used to make sake?
Sake made from only rice are labeled as junmai, or “pure rice” (those without the junmai label tend to have added distilled alcohol in them).

2. Once he has the right rice, the toji (master sake brewer) then mills the grains to remove the bran. Sake can be categorised into different grades depending on how much of the rice is polished off – the more you polish the rice, the higher the sake’s grade will be.

3. The rice polishing ratio for the highest grade, daiginjo, is usually below 50%, which means at least 50% of the original rice is milled away, and only the remaining 50% is used for fermentation.

4. Koji is a kind of enzyme used as a fermenting agent in making sake, miso, shochu, and vinegar. When you add koji to rice, it converts the rice into sugar, and then the yeast can do its job in converting the sugars into alcohol.

5. After the fermentation is complete, the sake is then “rested” for six to nine months to allow it to mellow and mature. This is also so that the rough, harsh taste of the newly made sake can mature into a softer, mellower and more well-balanced brew.

6. Like whisky, a pure source of water is equally important, as water is used in almost every step of the brewing process, from the washing of the rice to the dilution of the final product. Most undiluted sake comes in at about 20% ABV, which is then lowered to between 15% and 20%). Depending on the type of water that is used, whether it is high in minerals or not, it can either produce a dry sake, or a softer sake.

Wholly Spirits’s sake range

Banshu Iichi (Sake)

A rich, clean, well-balanced sake with herbaceous notes and hints of grapefruit and earthiness. Great with full-flavoured seafoods and perfect for mixing sake cocktails


Echigo Zakurai (Sake)

This sake by Nihon Zakura Brwery is made in the classic Niigata style, with lovely floral, fragrant notes.


Mizubasho Ginjoshui (Sake)

Brewed by Nagai Brewery, this elegant and crisp Ginjo-styled sake can be enjoyed warm, cold, or savoured slowly in a wine glass.


Kaiun Iwaizake Tokubetsu Honjozoi (Sake)

“Kaiun” means “welcome luck”, and this fresh, fruity Ginjo-style sake is a worthy gift for celebratory occasions such as the New Year or for weddings.


Mizubasho Junmaiginjo (Sake)

Junmai means pure rice, and this lovely ginjo sake is a testament of the high standards set by the Nagai Brewery – a complex blend of fruits, spices, minerality that brings to mind Chablis wines. Perfect with oysters and sushi.


Tokusen Junmaishu Echigozakura (Sake)

Another excellent brew from the Nihon Zakura brewery in Nigata prefecture, this is a smooth, clean and dry junmai sake that is best served mildly warm to bering out the lovely fragrance of koji and rice.


Shochu & Umeshu

Shouchu is one of Japan’s most popular spirits. It is a traditional Japanese spirit that can be distilled from a variety of ingredients, including fruit, raw sugar, grains or sweet potatoes. Each of these will impart a subtle but unique flavour to the spirit.

There are two different ways of distilling shochu – multiple distilled (distilled in patent stills) and single-distilled (distilled in pot stills). The latter, called “Honkaku Shochu” in Japanese, has a higher alcohol content, a more distinctively recognisable quality in flavour and is strictly regulated by the Japanese Alcohol Taxation Law.

Umeshu is a liqueur made by steeping ume (Japanese plums) in shochu to produce a spirit that is both sweet and sour at the same time.

Wholly Spirits’ range of Shochu and Umeshu

Honbo Ogaku (Mugi Shochu)

Mugi shochu is shochu made from barley, and Honbo Ougaku is aged in oak barrels for 3 years to produce a richer than usual style of shochu, one that is good enough to be sipped and enjoyed slowly without mixers.


Honbo Hoshiya Mutenka Joto (Umeshu)

Made by shochu masters Hombo, this plum liqueur is made with high quality Japanese plums aged in shochu for at least 1 year of more without any artificial additives, with raw honey and brandy added later to create a complex palate of flavours that is very unlike many commercially produced umeshus.


Satsumamura Aka (Imo Shochu)

Is that… red wine we smell on the nose of this Shochu? ‘Aka’ means ‘red’ in Japanese, and the almost red wine-like qualities of this sweet-potato-based (known as ‘imo’) shochu by Iwagawa Brewery makes for a unique spirit that we just can’t get enough of.


Satsumamura Kuro (Imo Shochu)

A beautifully authentic imo shochu brewed using black (‘kuro’) koji, making for an easy-drinking, crisp spirit that makes for a pretty good food pairing, and even as a base for a Martini twist!