Review: West 32 Soju
Soju is a classic rendition of a lower-alcohol neutral spirit that originated in Korea. It is reportedly the #1 selling spirit in the world. Therefore, it goes to reason that some New Yorkers got it in their head that they should make it too.
West 32 Soju is indeed made in New York, distilled from corn and bottled without artificial flavoring, which is said to be common overseas. (Cane sugar is added for sweetness.) No other production information is provided, but it’s safe to assume this is column-distilled several times to remove impurities.
Clearly someone here knows at least a bit about what they’re doing. The nose is fragrant and lightly sweet, offering aromas of fresh plums, orange blossoms, and white flowers — all simple and gentle, unassuming in every way. As expected, the palate is also exceptionally soft — 20% alcohol will do that to a spirit — though as the finish approaches, a bit of popcorn character, driven by the corn mashbill, finally bubbles up. It’s gentle enough that it doesn’t offend in the way some overblown white whiskeys can (that sugar helps, of course), which is particularly helpful since, stateside anyway, soju is made for mixing.