SAGA BARLEY & THE SECOND MOROMI

Raised in the spring and harvested in early summer, the ‘mugi’ (two-rowed barley) of Saga prefecture serves as the principle ingredient in Mizu Shochu (the ratio is 67% barley to 33% black koji rice). The mugi is first polished to remove the husk, which eliminates undesirable impurities found in the grain and makes for a far smoother, purer spirit. The polished barley is then pressed, steamed and added tothe initial mash containing the fermenting black koji rice, forming the ‘second moromi’.

The pressing or flattening of the barley grains is an additional task very rarely taken in the production of mugi shochus. This extra step, which further enhances the flavor, is made in the spirit of ‘kodawari’, a principle in which compromise is unthinkable.



Master distillers Wada (left) and Okoba (right) viewing the harvest.

Master distillers Wada (left) and Okoba (right) viewing the harvest.

Locally farmed, two-rowed barley ('kirameki' nijo mugi) of Saga Prefecture, harvested each May.

Locally farmed, two-rowed barley ('kirameki' nijo mugi) of Saga Prefecture, harvested each May.

Two-rowed barley is polished into pearls. Removing the husk makes for a purer, cleaner spirit.

Two-rowed barley is polished into pearls. Removing the husk makes for a purer, cleaner spirit.

Munemasa then presses the barley to enhance the flavor, an extra step that is rarely taken.

Munemasa then presses the barley to enhance the flavor, an extra step that is rarely taken.