HiteJinro’s Jinro Is Back soju – a wildly popular reinterpretation of the traditional Korean soju sold in the 70s and 80s – is now available in Singapore.

Singapore is no stranger to soju. The popular Korean distilled beverage is almost always the choice shot quaffed in copious amounts at ubiquitous Korean eateries in town. It is also easily found on the shelves of all Korean supermarkets here.

Among the different soju brands is leading producer Jinro. Considering their wide availability, Jinro’s range of Chamisul soju – from the classic Chamisul Fresh Soju to its various flavoured versions – is likely to be the soju most Singaporeans are familiar with.

If you’re a fan of soju, there’s a new Jinro soju in town – Jinro’s Jinro Is Back traditional soju is now officially available in Singapore. First launched in South Korea mid-2019, Jinro Is Back is the soju brand’s modern take on a traditional style of soju that was originally sold during the 1970s and 1980s.

For the new version, Jinro brought back the transparent, blue liveried bottles from previous decades that older South Koreans would have been familiar with. But it’s what’s within the retro bottle that Jinro remains sketchy on.

While soju of old was made from distilling rice, modern soju today is largely made by distilling cheaper starches such as tapioca and sweet potato, along with various adjuncts. That change happened after the Korean war, when the South Korean government banned the use of rice for making soju due to food shortages. When the prohibition lifted in 1999, producers continued making soju that way.

If we had to make a guess? Jinro Is Back is made with an old formulation that may include a certain proportion of rice. And we reckon too – from its richer and rounder taste – that the new-old soju could be triple distilled, unlike its Chamisul line which is quadruple-distilled.

Of course, we may be totally wrong too.

What we do like about the new Jinro expression is that it gives a fresh new look and taste to soju. It may even appeal to those who originally didn’t enjoy soju. It’s also incredibly versatile, and can be easily used to replace vodka in cocktails. While Jinro is likely to disapprove of imbibing this soju in other than the traditional ways of drinking – chilled, or the rocks, or combined with beer in somaek (soju bombs) – we think Jinro Is Back would be perfect in a martini.


Jinro Is Back is distributed by official importer House of Amber Nectar, and is now available in various bars and restaurants around Singapore. Jinro is Back is available at bars such as Lady Wu, Beer Basket Kitchen & Bar, The Public House, Honey Night, Joo Bar, as well as Chinese restaurants such as S-Tripes Hotpot, Tang Men Chuan Chuan and Tasty Loong. It can also be found at Korean restaurants including DAL-IN 2 Korean Store, Kim’s Family Korean Restaurant, Kko Kko Na Ra, O.BBa Jjajang BBQ, among others.

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