West 32 Soju
West 32 Soju
Soju / West 32 Low / 19.99%
American craft soju triple carbon filtered without chemical sweeteners or artificial additives. Clean base and light sweetness make it perfect in cocktails or neat to be the life of the party
If you are unfamiliar with Soju, it is a clear distilled beverage that originated in Korea. When you decide that it might be time to cut back on your alcohol or calorie intake, your instincts might tell you to turn to NA beer or low-calorie wine. Less obvious might be a neutral-grain spirit like Soju, but West 32 Soju, based out of New York, has created an all-natural, gluten-free version that provides an alternative option for those who want a little bit of a healthier drink. This spirit can range in alcohol content from 16 all the way up to 53 percent, but West 32’s Original version comes in at just a tick under 20 percent abv.
While Soju has a long and deep-rooted history in Korea, but because such a large majority of it is consumed in that country, others around the world might not know much about it. The drinking of Soju is typically a communal experience, and while it is usually sipped neat, it can also be a component in a number of different cocktails. West 32 is doing their best to take all of the traditional elements of Korean Soju and add a modern American twist to create something that is approachable but refined and suitable for any occasion. While I am not intimately familiar with Soju the spirit, I am excited to dig in to this offerings and share my West 32 Soju review with you.
West 32 Soju Review
First thing’s first. The presentation of the West 32 Soju bottle is really quite terrific. The front label of the simple green bottle displays the name almost as some sort of street sign hovering over a line drawing of the New York City skyline. The back label doesn’t contain much information, but useful tidbits are around the edges, telling us that the beverage is free of gluten and contains natural cane sugar. The cork is sealed with a piece of red tape that is a nice complement to the otherwise black-and-white aesthetic.
Upon pouring, the first thing that is noticeable on the nose is how subtle all of the elements are, though they are absolutely present. The strongest note that I get is orange blossoms, but even that is rather faint. The fact that this is a neutral grain spirit is evident as the aroma is sharp and clean overall.
By the nose alone I wouldn’t be able to tell that this spirit is distilled from corn, but there is the smallest hint of sweetness there that promises to be pleasant on the tongue. There isn’t a whole lot else to note about the aroma, possibly some hints of other tropical fruit. It actually reminds me a bit of triple sec but more crisp. The only way I will really be able to answer the question, “Is West 32 Soju good?” is by diving in and taking the first sip.
Is West 32 Soju Good?
The first taste of this Soju followed through on a lot of what I expected but also presented some surprises that perhaps shouldn’t have been. I am not sure if it’s the lack of strong aroma, but I could tell that something in my mouth was anticipating a significant alcoholic bite, even though I clearly already knew that this isn’t the most potent potable.
That bite never came, of course. Instead there was simply a delicious soft texture flowing over my tongue with those hints of orange dancing over the top of my taste buds. The overall profile is reminiscent of a white whiskey, that corn mash coming through just a shade on the finish but none of the complexity that would obviously come during an aging process.
It does still evoke some thoughts of triple sec, but I mean absolutely nothing negative by that. It would be the cleanest and smoothest triple sec ever created. I find it difficult to dig much deeper and discover other hints of flavor besides the orange blossom.
There is a tiny bit of sweetness throughout, which again is very clean as a result of the natural cane sugar rather than some artificial sweetener. The body is naturally on the lighter side of medium as a result of the relatively low alcohol levels. But not everything that sits this low on abv is as drinkable.
That hint of corn on the finish is nothing but a flash, which is exactly how I like it. Each sip cuts itself off clean and prepares you for the next. I could absolutely see using this spirit as an aperitif or a communal celebratory drink.
The lack of dominant flavors may lead you to believe that there isn’t much there, but the quality is obvious. The creators of this spirit know exactly what they are doing and didn’t get carried away with experimentation. Finish reading to find out just how high my West 32 Soju rating ends up being.
West 32 Soju Rating
When seeking out boozy beverages that are lower in alcohol content and calorie count, you may often come across drinks that taste watered down or are missing important elements that make you wonder if you are even drinking what they say you are. That is absolutely not true here. There isn’t the faintest hint of this being anything less than a quality Soju that stands up to traditional Korean versions. And perhaps best of all, unlike many liqueurs or other offerings in this abv range, you need not mix this Soju with anything, although you can of course. Without relying on soda or another mixer, it is that much easier to keep your calorie intake even lower while still enjoying that pleasant warmth down your throat and into your stomach.
I wasn’t planning on being this impressed with the spirit, but here I am compelled to cap off this West 32 Soju review by awarding it a full 5 out of 5 stars. If Soju is something that you have never tried, but you want to save on calories and cut back a bit on the buzz, West 32 seems just as good as anywhere to jump in and give it a try. I look forward to sampling their barrel-aged reserve.