KOREAN NAME: 자희향 탁주
REVIEW: Jaheehyang. It’s one of the ever-growing makgeollis that embraces visual appeal, packaging, and quality brewing with the hopes that its consumers do likewise.
But, before I get to the review, I should say that I sampled Jaheehyang not as the brewer intended. That is, I bought this back at the end of August and didn’t crack the bottle until about four months later. Which is totally fine for a pasteurized makgeolli, but Jaheehyang is unpasteurized with a shelf-life of 30 days.
All that being said, Jaheehyang is still ridiculously good. Since my bottle had been sitting for a spell, I poured off a glass of the cheongju, careful to leave the settled takju undisturbed. The cheongju was pale yellow in color, and smelled of lemon candy. The taste wasn’t far off of the scent: syrupy with a tart hit of booze at the end.
I could have just had the cheongju alone and been perfectly content, but for review’s sake, I wanted the full flavor. Mixing the brew so the takju and cheongju were reintegrated, it was clearer that my bottle had started to age. It wasn’t bad by a long shot, but it wasn’t the brew I’ve had before: Jaheehyang is deft at being unaggressive while still richly flavorful and pleasing. In short, it’s a great brew to introduce people to all that makgeolli has to offer. My four-month old bottle was a bit punchier, a bit more of those mustard notes—just more in your face all around. I suppose it was a happy accident because I actually kind of preferred my Jaheehyang on the aggressive side.
Yes, it’s ₩12,000 at Shinsegae (usually ₩15,000 at a joomak). Yes, it takes a bit of work to hunt down. But honestly, if you like makgeolli, you really need to try this bottle.
BREWERY: Jaheejayang (자희자양)
ORIGIN: Jeolla-do, Hampyeong-gun (전라남도, 함평근)
PURCHASED: Seoul, Express Bus Terminal, Shinsegae Department Store (서울, 고속 터미널, 신세계)
Retail is approximately ₩12,000.
AVAILABILITY: In addition to Shinsegae, Jaheehyang can be purchased at a number of high-end joomak, like Makgeolli Hakkyo (Isu), Tricycle, Sool Gaeguri, Nuruk Namu, and so on.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 12%
INGREDIENTS: purified water, Korean glutinous rice, Korean non-glutinous rice, Korean nuruk
VOLUME: 500 ml
PASTEURIZED: No (Shelf-life 30 days)
OTHER FACTS: In addition to the takju, Jaheehyang has a 500 ml bottle of yakju for retail ₩20,000. It can be found at many of the joomak listed above. It would also seem that there is a Jaheehyang bar called Makgeolli Bar Jaheehyang (막걸리바 자희향) near Seodaemun Station (서대문역). Here’s the address: 22 Jeongdong-gil, Jung-gu (중구 정동 22경향신문사).