Alcohol By Volume (usually abbreviated as ABV) is the standard measurement of how much alcoholic content a beverage contains. For the whole month of December, we’ll be entertaining our readers with stories on beers, spirits as well as the swankiest bars for our ABV series. Bottoms up!
Traditionally, Asian countries have been slower to commercialise their homegrown wine and spirits production. However, in the recent years, Asian spirits have garnered international acclaims for the level of polish and their unique attributes. Let’s take a look at the usual suspects.
MEKHONG WHISKEY, RUM, 25% ABV (THAILAND)
The spirits pioneer in Thailand is undoubtedly Mekhong Whiskey, which began production in early 1900s. Today, the distillery is operated by the government’s Excise Department as an important symbol of nationally-grown enterprise. Reflecting Thailand’s rich heritage of spices, aromatics and herbs are incorporated into the spirit. While it is named a whiskey, it is in fact categorised as rum considering that it is made from 95% sugar cane.
DON PAPA SMALL BATCH RUM, RUM, 40% ABV (PHILIPPINES)
A relatively new yet well-regarded spirit is Don Papa Small Batch Rum, introduced in 2012 to Manila by the Bleeding Heart Rum Company. The premium aged rum is made from premium grade sugarcane sourced from Bacolod region of Negros, deemed to be world’s capital of fine quality sugarcane. The sugarcane is processed into molasses, milled and aged for seven years in Bourbon American Oak barrels before being charcoal-filtered and blended to perfection.
CHAMISUL SOJU, SOJU, 17.8% ABV (KOREAN)
Undoubtedly the favourite national drink, Korean people can’t live without Soju. Whether drunk straight or flavoured with fruits, Soju is the perfect pairing for any meal and any occasion in Korea. The most popular Soju is Chamisul Soju, manufactured by the food and beverage giant Jinro. While Soju is traditionally made from grains, some producers today use potatoes or tapioca. Expect an ABV ranging from 16.8% to 53% for different brands and types of Soju.
NIKKA COFFEY GRAIN, WHISKY, 45% ABV (JAPAN)
One of the most unique and distinctive label offered by the famed Nikka distillery is Nikka Coffey Grain whisky. For one, this release features the full range of flavours from a single grain distillation. Another interesting component is the use of Nikka’s classic Coffey stills, a nod to the distillery’s founder’s apprenticeship of the inner workings of Coffey stills distillation in Scotland. Expect a burst of tropical fruits, fragrance of vanilla and a lovely lingering oak finish.
YAMAZAKI 18-YEAR-OLD, WHISKY, 43% ABV (JAPAN)
A review of Asian spirits would not be considered complete without Yamazaki’s famous 18-year-old vintage. The first whisky distillery founded in Japan, Yamazaki is a pioneer in its own right, leading the way for Japan’s whisky producers in the early 1900s. The distillery’s 18-year-old vintage is legendary for its gold finish at the 2007 International Spirits Challenge as well six consecutive double gold medals between 2008 and 2013.