KOREAN NAME: 중원 청명주
REVIEW: With the in-laws visiting the US again, I had another excuse to have them mule over some sool. I didn’t have time to do much research so I jumped at the first cheongju/yakju that I didn’t recognize. The bottle looked fancy and it came as a set! Then I saw the unfortunate word 살균 – pasteurized… Despite this red flag, I decided to take a chance and I’m glad that I did!
Given the dry cider, almost vinegar vibe I picked up in the bouquet, that first sip was much sweeter than expected. The front taste also had something undeniably bold and brassy hanging around the edges. I wasn’t quite sure I could put up with it for a whole bottle but, with time and air, this mellowed quite a bit. In fact, the sugar is the real overpowering element here: Joongwon Cheongmyeongju had me thirsty for a glass of water while thirsty for more sool.
I worry that others like me will be put off by the fact that it’s pasteurized. I’d just say this bottle may not be for everyone given the flavor profile but it’s definitely quality, and it’s in the right price range to boot.
Scent: Green apples, vinegar, dry cider.
BREWERY: Joongwon Dang (중원당)
ORIGIN: Chungcheong-do, Chungju (충청도, 충주시)
PURCHASED: Online via 11st.co.kr: A two-bottle set of 360-ml bottles cost approximately ₩32,000 with shipping to a Korean address.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 17%
INGREDIENTS: Korean glutinous rice, Korean nuruk
VOLUME: 360 ml