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Soy Sauce: Amano Brand™ (Tamari)

Soy Sauce Amano 01

These two soy products appeared in or local store recently. Larger bottles were also available, but I thought these cute little 250ml sized ones would be perfect for sampling purposes. Although manufactured in the US, the label on one bottle notes that the Amano family has been brewing since 1939, so whether they began to make soy sauce in that country, or else started in Japan and then later relocated is unclear.

The ostensible difference between the two is that the green labeled one is made without any wheat. Otherwise, both ingredient lists are limited to water, soy beans, salt and brewing starter (except for the addition of alcohol in the black labeled type). It is rather curious that both products are labeled as Tamari, because, as a general rule, regular Japanese soy sauce contains wheat, while the Tamari variety usually does not.

The appearance, aroma and taste of these two types are almost indistinguishable. The color is a slightly golden-red mahogany with good clarity, while the aroma of each is very much like a combination of fermenting beer and fresh baked bread. As for the taste, the first thing I noted is that these are amongst the saltiest soy sauces I have ever tasted, although the wheat-free variety was very slightly less so. The body of each has a quality very much like a good malt liquor and there are also some very tangy high-notes that are rather unique. All in all, the flavor of both types is quite good but each has a rather bitter and slightly metallic aftertaste I didn’t care for. This was not enough to ruin either, by any means, but, in consequence, I would rate the Amano brand a bit lower than Kikkoman. Either of these is not bad to have on hand as a ‘back-up’ soy, but I likely won’t go out of my way to stock them either…


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