With the mercury continuing to drop, there can be little doubt that we have descended into the long winter ahead. But at least that sets the mood for beautiful snowy scenery out the window as we watch the Olympic torch journey from our cozy living rooms!
You could be forgiven if you haven’t heard much about Iksan in the North Jeolla Province, as it’s not usually on the top must-see destination lists. Although it was once the capital city of the Baekjae Kingdom, Iksan in the modern age is primarily a transport hub.
But when it comes to sool, Iksan actually happens to be the hometown of a rather delicious recipe that is usually a real crowd-pleaser. So for this installment of the Olympic Sool Route, we are focusing on this famous traditional recipe rather than a commercially available brew.
The Hosanchun recipe originates from the mid-Joseon Dynasty period and gets its name from the mountain in the area which was nicknamed ‘Hosan’ for its jar like shape. The word ‘Chun’ was a popular naming trend, added to the name of different kinds of sool to indicate that it was of good quality. And so ‘Hosanchun’ was a popular recipe made in the Iksan region, and to this day is renowned for its deliciousness.
Due to the much higher ratio of rice to water in the recipe, the resulting flavour of Hosanchun is usually quite sweet with a rich aroma and heavy, silky body. However just as each recipe was passed down from generation to generation, the flavour and character Hosanchun was unique to each family’s techniques.
While there are some commercial producers that have produced their own Hosanchun products, there is one brew that we would simply be remiss if we did not acknowledge it. Arguably one of the finest quality produced sool available today is made by the hands of the Master himself, Park Rok Dam. If you follow anything The Sool Company does, you will hear us mention him in some way, as his efforts to reviving and restoring brewing traditions are unparalleled. Not a large commercial producer but rather an educator, Park Rok Dam does have one flagship brew called Saesang Mansa (세상만사) in both Takju and Cheongju form. And it just so happens that the recipe he uses is Hosanchun!
In the homebrewing culture of old, different kinds of sool were recognized by their recipe names, which often had deep and poetic meanings. Today as we see modern breweries create their own interpretations and even create completely new products with modern techniques, alcohol names are becoming more diverse and are often created with branding in mind. However that being said, the legacy of Hosanchun remains a feather in the cap of the long and enduring traditions of Iksan.
Julia is an Australian specialist in Korean Traditional Alcohol and has been involved in the makgeolli industry for over 5 years. She has been an activist for the promotion of Korean sool both locally and internationally after training at a number of institutes including Grand Master Park Rok Dam.