Umeshu Is The New Sake | Clozette


Umeshu is a traditional Japanese liqueur made by steeping ume fruit, commonly referred to as Japanese plum. We were surprised to learn that, technically, ume is not a plum; it’s closer to an apricot — ume has an acid content of four to five per cent, compared to the one to two per cent acidity found in plum. It is the citric acid from the fruit that gives Umeshu that tart and tangy flavour.


Shigehiro Kondo of CHOYA

Shigehiro Kondo, CEO of CHOYA


We had a chance to speak to Shigehiro Kondo, CEO of CHOYA, the biggest producer of Umeshu in the world, at the company’s headquarters in Hakibino, Osaka. The Kondo family founded CHOYA in 1914 with an initial focus on growing wine-grapes before starting the production of Umeshu in 1954. 


With its four distinct seasons, Japan's climate is ideally suited to the cultivation of ume, a fruit that has been a vital part of daily life for the Japanese since ancient times. But CHOYA’s Umeshu-making has undergone significant changes over the years. In the beginning, the fruit was soaked in koshu, a type of aged sake; this was later replaced with single-distilled shochu, then multiple-distilled shochu. 


Kondo shared that CHOYA uses only premium ume, mainly the Nanko-ume varietal from Wakayama Prefecture that boasts distinctive plumb flesh and high acidity, making it particularly suitable for Umeshu production. Steeping the whole fruit in alcohol allows the ume flavour to be extracted not only from the flesh and skin but also from the stone. It is this process which gives CHOYA Umeshu its unique fruity bouquet, with notes of almond and marzipan.


The CHOYA Products



We had tastings of various The CHOYA labels while Kondo regaled us with a background on CHOYA and Umeshu. The CHOYA Single Year would sit well with novices to this fruit liqueur; it’s easy to like with its wild honey, candied orange and almond notes that reminded us of a Muscat. Meanwhile, The CHOYA Aged 3 Years is more assertive, harbouring a mellow rum-like mouthfeel. We also sampled the limited-edition The CHOYA From The Barrel that is aged for three years in fibreglass tanks without any additives before being transferred to French oak casks for further ageing of two years, giving it a complex, smoky flavour that leaves a mild aftertaste of wine.


 The CHOYA Umeshu Aged 3 Years


There are three classic ways to drink Umeshu: neat in a chilled glass, on the rocks, or mixed with warm water for wintry nights. CHOYA’s website also suggests innovative cocktail recipes in an endeavour to widen the appeal of Umeshu to the new generation of tipplers. 


Shigehiro Kondo has ambitious plans  to conquer the world with its “The CHOYA” branding to make it synonymous with Umeshu. Look out sake; someone’s hot on your heels.

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Style is not always about the price tag. From thrifting to clothing rentals, this month, we’ll be exploring popular money-saving tips and practices that will help us look good for less.


Earlier this year, we wrote an article exploring the rising trend of renting clothes instead of buying new ones. It's a concept that appealed to many consumers because it allows flexibility and is a more affordable (and sustainable) option than constantly buying brand new clothes just to stay on-trend. You also get to dress up in unique designer pieces for special occasions without having to splurge. 


But it's also worth asking: what is it really like to rent clothes? Is it really convenient as it's marketed to be? To help us gain insight into this practice, we interviewed people who have been renting their everyday clothes for quite some time. Ahead, their takes.


The perks of renting



When asked about the number one perk about renting clothes, fashionistas Laura and Joy both said the same thing — it saves them tons of money. "When I go into shops, I second guess whether I should buy something because I have a clothing rental subscription that can pretty much take care of all occasions," Joy says. "I also get to try styles that I normally wouldn’t wear just for the fun of it without any commitment to owning the pieces."


Another major perk is not having to worry about laundry. "Not having to worry about laundry nor ironing helps save a lot of time," Joy shares.


Their fave pieces



Both Laura and Joy use their clothing subscriptions to rent pieces both for work and significant events. "I rent clothes regularly for work, big events and trips abroad. Sometimes, I also rent designer bags to complete the look," Joy shares.



As for Laura, her favourites include a pink maxi skirt she rented for her Bali trip (see above). "I thought it was the perfect accessory for my travel photos," she says. Another one would be this dress with a unique hemline (see below) that she got for a nice lunch with her family. 



Some tips to note


It turns out that the challenges customers face when it comes to renting clothes are not that different from the ones experienced when doing online shopping. "Sometimes gauging colour, material and fit on rental sites is difficult," Laura says.


But Joy has a nifty tip to overcome this speed bump: "There will be times when a style that looks good on the app doesn’t look good in real life. So what I do is to look at what others have rented through hashtags and tags and see what would look good in real life."


Renting Clothes Southeast Asia


Another tip is to be on the lookout for sales and discounts to save even more money. "Pay close attention to your favourite rental company's sale page. Some of these rental clothes will be put up for sale every once in a while, which is a great opportunity to purchase something you've had your eye on for a fraction of the price," Laura shares.


Check out some thrift flip tips from Youtuber Rachel Gania.


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Need to be sophisticated for the day? Wear black outfits! Stick to this versatile shade and your look will surely not go wrong. Wear the bold, dark colour from head to toe for a sleek ensemble, or opt for a classic black-and-white pairing for a striking contrast. Mixing and matching plains and prints is a great way to style the colour, too. Get some chic ideas from these stylish ladies from the Clozette Community.

(Cover photo from: megannmonday)

 


Not enough black in your wardrobe? Find stylish pieces below.

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