Jinro Chamisul Original

Figure 1. Jinro Chamisul Original


Korea has a long and proud heritage of making alcoholic beverages, called soju (소주), from rice, but in recent years, rice has been substituted by other starchy products such as potato, sweet potato, tapioca, wheat or barley (Wikipedia, 2010).  Jinro (진로), a distiller in South Korea, was founded in 1924 and is the world’s largest manufacturer of soju.  Jinro’s soju products are sold under the name Chamisul (참 이슬), which, according to Wikipedia (2010) means “real dew”.  The English version of the Jinro website elucidates the method, by which Jinro Chamisul Original (20.1% ABV) is processed, and that the use of “affluent minerals” and the “bamboo charcoal refinement method” results in “a clean taste while boasts biorhythmic cells by providing pure minerals [sic]”.


This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Jinro Chamisul Original soju including, but not limited to, aroma, flavor, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.


A 360 ml bottle of Jinro Chamisul Original soju was sampled from a local bottle store for NZ$8.50.  The bottle was refrigerated for four hours prior to opening to ensure the temperature of the sample did not exceed 6oC.  The bottle cap was removed under controlled conditions.  The contents of the bottle were decanted into a clean shot glass and two small tumblers.  The sample in the shot glass was designated as the control.  Mango juice was added to the first of the other samples (sample 1) and cranberry juice was added to the second other sample (sample 2).  The juices were added in ratios of 3 parts juice to 1 part soju.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the control.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the control and samples and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  The glass was held up to a standardized light to evaluate the colour of the liquor, and aesthetic aspects of the vessel were considered.


The results for Jinro Chamisul Original soju are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Characteristics of Jinro Chamisul Original soju

Characteristic Result
Aroma Industrially distilled spirit with a sweet undertone
Flavour Control: Complex, fruity notes that intensify in sweetness after time

Sample 1: Reminiscent of mango juice with harsh alcohol added

Sample 2: Strong, sour berry notes with alcoholic hints

Colour Control: Clear

Sample 1: Thick, orangey-yellow liquid

Sample 2: Clear and deep red

Satisfaction Control: Strong alcohol content makes it difficult to appreciate the true flavours of the product

Sample 1: Much better than the control

Sample 2: Sour berry and unforgiving alcohol results in a nasty aftertaste

Vessel Design The label (see figure 1) is cream and green and exhibits an image of bamboo, doubtlessly relating to the bamboo charcoal filtration method used in the production.  The front label has an image of the company frog which is cream at room temperature and turns blue when cold (see figures 2 and 3 respectively)
Drinkability Control: 3

Sample 1: 5

Sample 2: 2

Figure 2. Jinro frog at room temperature

Figure 3. Jinro frog at 6 Celsius


Jinro Chamisul Original soju has displayed adaptability by improving on the control sample due to addition of foreign substances in sample 1.  It is not recommended that the product is utilized in close proximity to cranberry juice due to severe interference of flavours.  “Biorhythmic cells” may have contributed to this adjustment in flavour, but it is beyond the scope of the current study to confirm this hypothesis.  The highlight of the Jinro Chamisul Original soju experience was mixing fruit juices with the product in an attempt to enhance the drinkability and trying to make the temperature-sensitive frog label change colour.





  1. mkm

    Re: “Boasts biorhythmic cells by providing pure minerals”
    What is this? A health drink? Booze? Snake oil?

    Whatev. I’d buy it just for the frog/chameleon guy on the label.

    • An extensive search of the relevant literature has revealed surprisingly little information on “biorhythmic cells”. Further research is being undertaken to uncover the mystery of said cells. Funding is being sought to facilitate the search for “biorhythmic cells”.

  2. mkm

    Hint about funding (aka “handout”) was taken and summarily ignored.
    Good luck with that.

  3. I note that there was no control for getting the frog to change color. Shows just how “objective” this study really intends to be!

    Jinro is good stuff, mate! The Korean gentlemen who introduced me to it instructed me to add to my beer. Sort of a Korean Boilermaker!

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