Chu Yeh Ching Chiew Review

Chu Yeh Ching Chiew181

45% abv

Score:  47/100


Jesus Christ.  I’m sorry.  I wish I could find a respectful way to say this, but I simply can’t.  My taste buds are in revolt.  As is my tact.  There’ll be no pulling punches here, as this is – quite frankly – ruddy foul stuff.  Like overtly offensive, if I’m being totally up front.

So…is this actually whisky?  I honestly don’t know.  I bought it in a section labeled ‘whisky’.  The tag beneath it said ‘whisky’.  But nowhere can I find reliable information as to whether or not anyone actually considers this a whisky.  It is, however, a distilled beverage made from barley (and other stuff), so let’s proceed anyway, if for nothing other than shits and giggles (and an occasional foray into masochism).

An ingredients list that features sorghum, barley, peas, sugar and bamboo leaves should be your first clue that things may be a little squiffy here.  However, that sort of mixture should logically give a rather organic and earthy profile, shouldn’t it?  Not a chance here.  This one is an ‘x-file’ of a drink.  It’s a soupy-smelling, meaty anomaly and should actually be left on the shelf…or maybe used for cooking.

Chu Yeh Ching Chiew is served up in a 500 ml bottle.  That’s about 480 ml too much considering I probably needed only about 20 ml for this write-up.  Now ‘scuse me while I go scour my tongue with an S.O.S. pad.

If anyone out there knows more about this one please feel free to share.

Nose:  Nose:  Beef ramen flavour packet.  BBQ Beef Hula Hoops (for those of you with access to UK snack fare).  Miso.  Very savoury and spicy.  Dried meats and tea leaves.  Maybe sweet peas (but that could be nothing more than the power of suggestion).  Polish, citrus zest and a fleeting aroma of chocolate.  But really all that other stuff is buried behind the big beefy Oxo/Bovril/Beef ramen scent.  This is the meatiest drink I’ve ever nosed, and that includes the time I tried ‘bone-luging’ Lagavulin 16 down a freshly de-marrowed beef bone.

Palate:  Gah!  Less meaty now.  More on over-the-top sugar sweetness and vegetable soup.  Tomato.  Kale.  Lemongrass.  A bit of meatiness now.  Plain egg noodles.  Fuck, is this ever weird.  No more.  I’m done.

Thoughts:  <shudder>


 – Images & Words:  Curt


30 thoughts on “Chu Yeh Ching Chiew Review

  1. Cam C

    LOL. Sorry you had a horrible experience. Your rather vivid description made me chuckle though. What possessed you to buy such a bottle?

  2. Chris 1

    Curt, you should save the rest to celebrate Chinese New Year. Maybe mix in a little JW Red to make it (only slightly) more palatable.

      1. Sharon E. LaLond

        You are sooooo funny!!!!! I have a jug of that shit and I hope it removes rust, because from the way you described the stuff, that’s about all its good for!!!!!

  3. Rob

    Ha ha – very descriptive.
    Reminds me of when my local liquor joint had a tasting of traditional international spirits. There was a Chinese one, at $200 per 250ml bottle – that smelt and tasted of something one should never ingest.
    Apparently it’s a huge hit with the Chinese, and they all seek it out.

    Good work taking one for the team, mate.

  4. Skeptic

    Sounds lovely compared to the one my “friend” invited me to try. Here’s his review on Connosr:

    Ah Lambertus! Belgian term for “poisin in a bottle”. My favourite line is the one after he warmed the dram (like Ashok recommends for Amrut Peated CS):

    First impression, the smell of a bandage being removed from an infected diabetic foot ulcer. Yes, definitely polymcrobial, maybe a bit of betadine residue. It could have been worse…

  5. Jerry

    haha, great to see you have ventured into the chinese moonshine category lol Fen Chiuw is in the light/fragrant category and is usually just moonshine unless it’s aged by background radiation in vats for like 20 years lol…
    try setting it on fire and then drinking it, brings out the strawberry flavor LOL

  6. Mike. M

    You could look at that experience in two ways:

    Glass half empty, “that’s 5-10 minutes I’ll never get back for reviewing this crap”. Or,

    Glass half full, “you really never get to appreciate the sweet without the sour”.

    Regardless, you took one for the team. I enjoyed that review as much as I enjoyed reading about the Willie Tait quotes in the The Dram Initiative #005 – Jura With Willie Tait.

  7. Dan

    It’s not a whisky – Chu Yeh Ching is an aromatized Chinese white liquor called “Fen Jiu”
    Fen Jiu is made from sorghum. Notable differences with whisky (to me) are that it undergoes fermentation underground and a second fermentation after distillation and that it is aged in earthen jar

    1. Sharon E. LaLond

      I have a bottle of that and I have no idea what do with it. Tell me more if you can.

  8. Brad

    Googled it and found it called “Chinese Bamboo Leaf Vodka” on and from Wikipedia I found this:

    “Chu Yeh Ching (竹葉青酒, zhúyèqīnqjiǔ, lit. “bamboo-leaf green liquor”):[27] this sweet liquor, produced in Shanxi, is fenjiu brewed with a dozen or more selected Chinese herbal medicines. One of the ingredients is bamboo leaves, which gives the liquor a yellowish-green color and its name. Its alcohol content ranges between 38 and 46% by volume.[28]”

    …sounds delicious.

      1. ATW Post author

        Ahem…as stated above: “So…is this actually whisky? I honestly don’t know. I bought it in a section labeled ‘whisky’. The tag beneath it said ‘whisky’. But nowhere can I find reliable information as to whether or not anyone actually considers this a whisky. It is, however, a distilled beverage made from barley (and other stuff), so let’s proceed anyway, if for nothing other than shits and giggles (and an occasional foray into masochism).”

  9. Maltmonster

    First Dr. Whisky to Balvenie, then Georgie Bell to Mortlach, and now Miss Whisky to William Grant & Sons …. Is there any truth to the rumor start here that you are the next ambassador for the producers of Chu Yeh Ching?

    1. ATW Post author

      I think I’d make a pretty lousy ambassador, don’t you? There’s only one distillery I would ever consider representing. Pretty sure this brand has no ties to it. Hahaha.

      1. Jeff

        Why have scientists starting doing experiments with brand ambassadors?

        Because there are some things that a rat just won’t do.

        The only question for me is “when there’s no rational expectation of honesty anyway, does one really check their self-respect at the door in playing a pre-defined marketing role?”. Any thoughts among the (un)usual suspects? I don’t know the answer, but whisky ambassadorship is to whisky commentary what professional wrestling is to combat sports: lots of flash leading to a preordained conclusion.

        1. David

          That’s a little bit of generalization, no?

          I remember Ralfy (who is expanding his anti-NAS campaign) singing the praises of Ashok from Amrut.

          And when I met him, I could understand why. I think it’s possible to work for a company to promote a product and be ethica.

          Of course I live a charmed life….I met the only honest car salesman in Canada…

          1. Jeff

            I’m sure most of them are very nice people, and that many are very good at their job in promoting their brand, but I guess what I’m getting at is to what degree is the job itself ethical or unethical? I think it could be done ethically if it consisted of “here’s what we’ve got and we think it’s pretty good, which isn’t to say that other people don’t make some nice whisky too”, and certainly having a declared affiliation/agenda/paymaster goes a long way toward being ethical vs. being an industry shill in sheep’s clothing (sort of the difference between being a soldier in uniform and a spy in mufti), but in going beyond that (say, to having defend illogical marketing practices), I think one is heading for murkier waters. And, again, does it make a difference that, as a brand ambassador, one isn’t really expected to give an objective, or even personal, take on the state of whisky? I think the guy from Glenfiddich did a very good job of being clear in handling this area, but is there a problem where one has to separate the company’s position from one’s own in terms of what someone says about whisky?

          2. David

            Try running for government. Sometimes you have to put forward the party’s position even if you don’t hold it yourself.

            The thing is, usually these are minor issues, otherwise you would not be running for that party.

          3. Jeff

            If your point is to show that being a whisky ambassador is about as ethical as being in politics… OK, I accept that, but I’d dispute that all of these things are minor issues; otherwise intelligent people being totally (or supposedly) lost on the topic of whether age matters to whisky, and only to support company lines, has put thinking on the spirit into general retrograde for years now.

          4. David

            No, my point is that you choose where you draw the line.

            If you are representing a political party, you espouse the position of the party and keep your views to yourself where they conflict. If there is too much you disagree with, you don’t run as a candidate for them.

            I debated against someone in the last election. After my opponent in the debate answered a specific question and his proposal did not go as far as my own position did, I asked him (off-mike) “why not just get rid of it (the bad law we were discussion)?” He answered “I agree with you, but there are cameras…” I understand – he didn’t want to put the leader in an awkward position. He now has a very important role in government. And I’ll bet when the issue comes up he’ll be advocating to get rid of it…

            If you take a job as a representative of a company, you do so with the understanding that you will represent its interests. If you disagree with something in a minor way, you keep it to yourself in public (nothing to stop you from advocating for change from within). If the issue is one that is so important that you can’t toe the party line, you quit. Everyone has their own moral compass.

            I would bet that the brand ambassadors who sound the least logical or convincing when it comes to supporting NAS are probably the ones who actually support it the least. It’s hard to lie convincingly about something big.

            And then there are those who really have no conflict of interest. For instance, when he was brand ambassador for Amrut, I never heard Ashok either defend his company’s NAS policy nor speak against it. What he did do was answer questions people had, talk about the distillery, and show us what he thought was the best way to enjoy his company’s spirits. And (full disclosure) he gave me a sample of Greedy Angels…

            Essentially, he represented his company well.

          5. Jeff

            But not having to take, have or state one’s position on a particular issue isn’t exactly the same as having logically or ethically resolved it, even if it does reflect a “hold your nose” method of establishing priorities, and not having to discuss that one holds mutually contradictory ideas in their head simultaneously (age both does and doesn’t matter, depending on contextual marketing requirements), might be a key to success in politics (whisky or otherwise), but it’s also the definition of doublethink. It IS hard to lie about something big in a convincing way, which is why the industry, its representatives and supporters are so eager to declare it a non-issue and/or change the subject – even though the “nothing to see here” default position is a clear misrepresentation of the product that they declare themselves, and each other, to be authorities on, and they are mostly on the same page in that regard. It’s frequently handy for many concerned to never raise an issue, but it’s not the same thing as dealing with it.

  10. HandyAndy

    This is absolutely not whisky. It’s commonly drunk in China as an accompaniment to raw seafood as a germ killer and poor mans Bai Jiu. You might want to try the latter, it’s also not whisky and an acquired taste. Read this review by HandyAndy for some balanced info.

  11. Phyllis

    Um, huh, I’m actually on my second bottle of this stuff! I sort of kind of like it! Very sweet, a little warm going down, not as bad or intense as the other stuff from China I polished off last night! Good for more bang for your buck (though mine was inherited), if that’s what you’re after, and I am. Once you get used to it, it’s not that bad in taste. Kind of a last resort, though, too broke to buy anything else, once it’s gone, no more. Perhaps the health “benefits” are more of a marketing ploy, how can any booze be healthy for you, aside from MAYBE, red wine (resveratrol). Right now, though, I don’t give a frell about healthy booze, I just want to get high to get the hell out of here for a while. Maybe next time I fall, I’ll truly break a rib rather than just bruise it.

  12. Craig

    I received a bottle from my daughters boyfriends parents when they came to visit 1981 vintage, beautiful bottle in box.Are they trying to split up the relationship.


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