What Is The Best Baijiu? Science Provides The Answer

What Is The Best Baijiu? Science Provides The Answer

In any industry, there must be a market leader. In the world of baijiu, this is undoubtedly Kweichow Moutai. Unofficially considered the national spirt of China, this baijiu brand is manufactured by a state-owned and operated distillery and served at all formal Chinese functions. It would take a particularly plucky underdog to stand up to the machine that is Moutai.

There is no denying Moutai is an incredibly great baijiu.

Moutai is ingrained in Chinese culture, there is nothing more Chinese than Moutai other than the Chinese people themselves. In China Moutai is an institution in its own right, it is a premium luxury brand that oozes opulence. It is considered by many in China as an investment commodity as well as a huge gainer of face. Moutai is the biggest and wealthiest baijiu brand in the world.

BUT!

Just because your the biggest does not mean your the best…

Before going any further, however, we should really set the scene. Never underestimate just how colossal Kweichow Moutai is as a business. With sales that top £8 billion per year and an outreach of over 70,000 tonnes, Kweichow Moutai has superseded Diageo PLC as the world’s biggest and most profitable baijiu brand.

In addition, Kweichow Moutai has truly cornered the market of domestic baijiu sales. It is responsible for over half of all premium baijiu sales in China, with the vast majority of these transactions coming through distributors. As well know, money leads to money. As a result of its substantial transactions, Kweichow Moutai have a marketing budget significantly larger than any competitor.

No baijiu can rival Moutai in terms of brand awareness, especially outside China, so a comparison to V.I.P Jiu 8 Baijiu will be built on other factors.

These include quality, history, price, taste and scientific analysis.

Kweichow Moutai Baijiu - VS - V.I.P Jiu 8 Baijiu
Kweichow Moutai Baijiu – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Baijiu

Moutai History

Moutai also known as Moutai is known as the national liquor of China, albeit unofficially – attempts to trademark this term and apply it to the bottle have been rejected. Maotai is produced in Maotai Town, which is located within Guizhou (Kweichou) Province. This is what makes Maotai unique. Like Champagne, only baijiu produced in this region can carry the formal Maotai label.

Maotai originated during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), when northern Chinese distillers introduced advanced techniques to local processes to create a distinctive type of baijiu. Thereafter, Maotai was produced at several local distilleries in the region.

Things became a little more formal in 1951, when local government merged Chengyi, Ronghe and Hengxing to establish the state-run Moutai Distillery. Since then, the distillery has undergone multiple expansions to become the sprawling empire that it is today.

Further Reading: Maotai History

V.I.P Jiu 8 History

V.I.P Jiu 8 is a truly unique in all aspects, it’s Britain’s first authentic Imperial craft baijiu. The recipe was first conceived 300 years ago by the Kangxi Emperor, widely regarded as one of China’s greatest ever emperors.

The resurrection of V.I.P Jiu 8 began on the 2nd of July 2014. A tale that begins with a wrongly attributed, chipped and cracked imperial wine cup with a connection to King Louis XIV of France, a group of five Jesuit priests and China’s longest-reigning emperor, Kangxi, who ruled China from 1662 until 1722.

Further Reading: V.I.P Jiu 8 – Ancient And Modern Timeline

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Top


Moutai Scientific Analysis – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Scientific Analysis

Sample A and sample B
Sample A and sample B

A bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 together with a bottle of Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy was sent to a UK laboratory for analysis.

The laboratory is a registered member of UKAS – The United Kingdom Accreditation Service that is recognised by the UK government when comparing products to internationally agreed standards.

The two bottles were labelled sample A and sample B.

  • Sample A – V.I.P Jiu 8.
  • Sample B – Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy.

The laboratory concluded that the two bottles were very different, with sample A (VIP Jiu 8) being considerably more complex than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

The laboratory concluded that the two bottles were very different, with sample A (VIP Jiu 8) being considerably more complex than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

The chart below clearly shows that sample A (VIP Jiu 8) contains many more compounds with positive attributes than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

The chart below clearly shows that sample A (VIP Jiu 8) contains many more compounds with positive attributes than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy).

Here are just a few of the many compounds known for their positive qualities found in V.I.P Jiu 8.

  • Alpha-Pinene and beta-Pinene – a wide range of pharmacological attributes have been reported, including anticoagulant, antitumour, antimicrobial, antimalarial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Beta-Myrcene – has a role as an anti-inflammatory agent and an anabolic agent.
  • Alpha-Terpinene – a known antioxidant.
  • Gamma-Terpinene – displays antimicrobial properties against various human pathogens.
  • Alpha-Terpinolene – produces a mildly sedative effect and can help reduce anxiety.
  • Alpha copaene – anti-proliferative, antioxidant.
  • Linalool – known to have anti-anxiety, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Trans alpha-Bergamotene – effective against inflammation in the intestine.
  • Beta-selinene – exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These benefits may reduce the frequency and severity of painful gout attacks.
  • Beta Ocimene – known to work well with other terpenes and has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Top


Moutai Price – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Price

The average retail price of a 500 ml bottle of Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy is around £240. There may also be import taxes and duties levied against the product if purchased outside the UK. Buy Moutai

Conversely, a 700 ml bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 retails for £88. All sales of this baijiu will be processed within, and despatched from, the UK. Buy V.I.P Jiu 8 Baijiu

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Top


Kweichow Moutai Baijiu – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 BaijiuMoutai Proof – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Proof

  • Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy has an ABV of 53%
  • V.I.P Jiu 8 has an ABV of 58%

Baijiu doesn’t always enjoy a glowing reputation in the west, and Moutai is no exception. This spirit is sometimes assigned the less than flattering nickname of, “firewater”, or other names such as, “liquid razor blades.”

Some erroneously attribute this to the high alcohol content of baijiu. Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy has an ABV of 53%. V.I.P Jiu 8, meanwhile, has an ABV of 58%. Rather than the alcohol content a large part of the blame can be put down to the inclusion of the heads and the tails.

Baijiu distillation is divided into three parts: the heads, the heart, and the tails.

The Heads

Heads are the first part of the distillation. Heads can contain harsh chemical compounds, such as acetone or toxic methanol.

The Heart

The heart, or the middle part of the process, is the highest-quality part of the distillation. This is when the ingredients are at their purest.

The Tails

Distillation concludes with the tails. These are typically low in alcohol and contain unpleasant sulphates and fatty acids and feel heavy and oily on the palate.

Pure Baijiu

V.I.P Jiu 8 differs from other baijiu brands. We only use the heart of the alcohol produced during the distillation process. As discussed, this ensures that V.I.P Jiu 8 retains just the purest, most palate-pleasing part of the alcohol. All poisons, fats and oils that lurk in the heads and tails are removed during distillation. This leads to a considerably more enjoyable experience.

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Top

Making Baijiu Great Again


Moutai Taste – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Taste

Moutai Taste - VS - V.I.P Jiu 8 Taste
Moutai Taste – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Taste

Moutai Taste Profile – From the Moatai official website: Light to deep smell, you can smell the aromas of flower, grass, fruit, sweetness and dried plant.

V.I.P Jiu 8 Taste Profile – From Darren Packman (Craft consultant): My initial reaction to the aroma was that it was surprisingly fresh – quite minty with a spicy, almost ‘green’ quality. The flavours are complex. Lots of spice and a nice, warming vein. The alcohol is clean though, unlike the other baijui brands I have tried.

International Research Centre for Spirits (IRCS)

A meeting was held in London in 2019 by the recently formed International Research Centre for Spirits (IRCS). The IRCSI launch event was attended by more than 120 movers and shakers within the baijiu industry. The purpose of the meeting was to find ways of introducing Chinese baijiu brands to a western audience. Industry leaders concluded the only way to introduce baijiu to the masses in the west was as a mixer in cocktails as the pungent smell and taste of baijiu would never gain consumer appeal in the west.

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Top


Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Conclusion

Chairman Mao Zedong modernised the Chinese alcohol production industry in the 1950s. At the time, thousands of small and independent distillers were producing liquor all over China. The results were deeply variably in terms of quality, and change was sought.

Mao sent representatives from China to the USA with a simple aim; to learn modern industrial alcohol production techniques. While this education was achieved, there were sweeping changes made throughout China.

Small, independent distilleries – some of which had been family-owned and operated for generations – were closed and merged with competitors. The result were large, state-run distilleries, with Kweichow Moutai Co., Ltd the jewel in the crown.

This led to a more uniform approach to baijiu production throughout China. The familiar, pungent aroma and taste profile as we know today was created, alongside the baijiu aroma classification system.

The taste and aroma of Chinese baijiu were conceived to appeal to a mass Chinese audience and have barely changed since its inception. This goes some way to explaining why baijiu is yet to truly capture the imagination of westerners, whose palates are unaccustomed to this unique taste.

The recipe for V.I.P Jiu 8 was created 300 years ago. This was far before the modernisation and streamlining of baijiu production.

V.I.P Jiu 8 consists of nine natural ingredients and nothing more. No blending and no artificial flavourings or additives. While V.I.P Jiu 8 has undergone testing and finessing, the recipe has never deviated from that laid out by the Kangxi Emperor. This ensures that V.I.P Jiu 8 remains mindful and respectful of imperial pedigree.

This approach is validated by the scientific analysis of V.I.P Jiu 8. Kangxi was a master herbalist, which is why V.I.P Jiu 8 is proven to be considerably more complex than the world’s largest baijiu brand.

V.I.P Jiu 8 may not have the financial clout and brand awareness as Moatai but it is unarguably:

Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Top

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