Would you try the wood-flavored drink?
Fruit Liqueur Freaks is a two-man venture established in 2013 in Japan’s old capital of Kyoto by Ryota Anezaki and Hirokazu Itoh. The two were dissatisfied with the quality and lack of selection of fruit liqueurs available at stores in Japan, so they set out to bring delicious, high-quality, homemade umeshu (plum wine) and other traditional fruit-flavored liqueurs to the people.
Now, they’re branching out to include a new, unique flavor to their line: Kitayama Malta, which are cut and processed cedar logs traditionally prepared in Kyoto.
▼ Kitayama Malta logs being dried
Fruit Liqueur Freaks have a crowdfunding page up to help bring their new “botanical liqueur” to the table. With this project, they hope to “explore new ways to use traditional materials.”
The scraps of lumber that remain when processing the cedar logs are what is used to make this Kitayama Malta liqueur. As brandy and whiskey attain some of their essence from the barrels they are distilled in, and some traditional Japanese sake are drunk from bamboo cups, the FLF guys claim that wood-flavored liqueur is not all that strange.
After the wood is cut down to shape and size, it is then browned in an oven to prepare for soaking in the liquor. During the browning process, some wood secretes a sweet sap similar to maple syrup. These are used in the “sweet syrup” flavor, while the rest are used in the “cedar wood” flavor.
And just how exactly does the Malta liqueur taste? A group of bartenders had a tasting of a prototype of the product, and their answers varied quite a bit, from “it tastes like cucumber liqueur,” and, “it has a watermelon-y flavor,” to, “it has a complex taste,” “it has a delicate taste,” and, “it’s definitely wood.”
▼ It tastes like… wood.
So if you’re curious to see for yourself what Kyoto cedar wood liqueur tastes like and you live in Japan, you can support their project. (Campfire only accepts backers with Japanese addresses.) Otherwise, be sure to follow them on Facebook or check out what else they have to offer on their homepage!