A few shunde visits with mm ago, I bought a bottle of rice spirit because of the cute masks bottle. It wasn’t expensive, around the same price as a bottle of wine or less.
The description says it’s baiju 白酒, literally translating as white wine. White because it’s clear, it is nothing like the white wine made from grapes. From what I can gather on the ingredients label, it’s made from several different types of rice, a little wheat and a grain spirit made from sorghum.
It’s 45%, so is expected to be strong. I like stronger cask strength whisky, so it’s not like I can’t take 45% alcohol. But wow, this one is strong. Hits you on the nose as soon as it’s poured out. Apparently baiju is classified according to is fragrance, and I’m sort of guessing (since I can’t read the corresponding character very well) that it’s one classified as having a strong fragrance. Interesting wiki article, says the strong fragrance is due to high esters like ethyl acetate. So that’s the smell!! It’s been so long since I’ve been in a lab environment, I couldn’t identify the ester smell.
There’s none of the smoothness of whisky, the alcohol is front and centre. Definitely a sipping spirit. Tiny tiny sips too, just let it touch your lips and tip of tongue, then roll it around your mouth. Didn’t like it at first but it grew on me. Worth the very low price and I can keep the bottle as decoration.