The stunning red bottle is undoubtably alluring and “iwai no aka” refers to the celebratory red color of the bottle. The shochu, however is clear. It starts interestingly with a hint of juniper on the palate, but that’s quickly replaced with a light mellowness – a neutrality that would make this an excellent mixer for cocktails if you want to avoid korui shochu (multiply distilled). Kaido finishes with the slightest hint of cinnamon, but just a tease like that gorgeous red bottle itself.
This is the rare sweet potato shochu that doesn’t own up to the robust, flavorful, complex reputation that this variety so richly deserves, instead it is a mellow, extremely easy drinking spirit much more closely akin to a light mugi shochu.