The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2017

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march 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  97 "I first encountered Hemosu Soju a little more than a year ago when they had an introductory lunch tasting here in Los Angeles," remembers Eun. "It finally made sense to me that Korea had such a deep and long-rooted drinking culture. It was the proof I was looking for that Koreans were drinking something worth drinking. Once I found out that Hemosu was going to be importing quality soju to America, I had to investigate for myself. A year later, I was asked to be a part of the brand and I was excited to jump on board." To celebrate the upcoming stateside brand launch of Hemosu Soju, the brand invited a crew of curious and creative beverage professionals to the chic and sultry Continental Club in Downtown Los Angeles. Here we were treated to a sit down tasting of the three expressions—Hemosu Straight, Pine Forest and Fields of Barley—as well as challenged to a cocktail com- petition, wherein the guests had the opportunity to work with the Hemosu range, hands-on. "Hemosu hopes to bring awareness to the fact that craft soju exists—and has existed for hundreds of years—and represents a soju that we can be proud to drink and share," explains Eun. "I feel as though there is a large parallel to Hemosu being introduced and what happened with the transformation of agave spirits from something that was only good for cheap shots to one with recognized craft products." With both spirits and wine profession- als in attendance, it was easy to want to dive into the geeky side of soju, and Eun was certainly the man to talk to. "While it's not a recognized categoriza- tion, in my own research, I've begun separating diluted soju from distilled soju—which I realize are still misnomers because all soju is technically distilled," explains Eun. "The biggest difference is, with the more industrial product that has flooded the market, the alcohol is distilled to a very high point (much like vodka) and then watered down to roughly 20 percent ABV. The craft/original sojus are distilled either to proof, or very close to it before being diluted to the desired ABV." "I think soju can transition from a cheap shooter only to a category with a recognized craft component," opines Eun. "As one of the first export traditional craft sojus to the U.S., Hemosu can definitely be a leader of this movement." "Wonderful expression of rice in both Straight and Pine. The sweet floral of the Pine needs nothing more than a single large cube to chill it. Straight and Barley, though, both are very clean, will make a great cocktail." —Paul Sherman, Sommelier, Valentino Notes from the Pros: Hemosu Korean Craft Soju Hemosu Straight "Floral, delicate, fresh, light salinity. Tastes like drinking alone at the edge of a still mountain pond." —Mara Marski, Bartender, Barrel & Ashes "Saffron, salt, white pepper, green bean." —Eduardo Bolaños, Sommelier, Terroni "Sushi rice, Szechuan peppercorn, orange skin oil, licorice and anise; rich but polished." —Eric Denq, Sommelier, Spago Beverly Hills Hemosu Pine Forest "Stellar gorgeous note, highly aromatic, beautiful in cocktails." —Rick Arline, Sommelier, Georgie "Fresh sweet nose. Gently aromatic. The front is gorgeous with herbal freshness. The middle is slightly sweet and round. Finish is light. I'd make a stirred Martini-style cocktail with this." —Cari Hah, Bar Manager, Big Bar Hemosu Fields of Barley "Butterscotch on the nose, soft chocolate notes soften into nuts." —Mara Marski, Bartender, Barrel & Ashes "Hints of white chocolate and coconut fill the nose. Sweetness of grain and malt carry across the palate, leaving the idea of coconut milk." —Matt Bostick, Beverage Director, Baldoria "One of the purest selections of soju I have tasted. I believe that the Barley expression would be the most versatile in a cocktail." —Matt Bostick, Beverage Director, Baldoria

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