munbae wine


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munbae wine

Munbaeju, a royal wine in the era of King Taejo of Goryeo

Serving premium drinks to one’s ancestors, elders and many others is a popular tradition in both oriental and western cultures.
“Munbaesul” or Munbaeju wine, was also developed in the midst of this tradition. During the reign of King Taejo in the Goryeo period, subjects competed with one another to offer the king premium spirits in return for government posts. One of the drinks at the time was Munbaesul from a particular family. The family kept the brewing method in secret and served Munbaesul to the king alone. However, by the mid-Goryeo period, its brewing techniques became known to many descendants and were widely spread among the people as a popularly practiced method.

Origin of Munbaeju

A royal wine in the era of King Taejo of Goryeo

Serving premium drinks to one’s ancestors, elders and many others is a popular tradition in both oriental and western cultures. “Munbaesul” or Munbaeju wine, was also developed in the midst of this tradition. During the reign of King Taejo in the Goryeo period, subjects competed with one another to offer the king premium spirits in return for government posts. One of the drinks at the time was Munbaesul from a particular family. The family kept the brewing method in secret and served Munbaesul to the king alone. However, by the mid-Goryeo period, its brewing techniques became known to many descendants and were widely spread among the people as a popularly practiced method.
 

An incomplete, unconcluded poem due to a shortage of Munbaesul

Meanwhile, Kim Gi-won, a poet of the mid-Goryeo period, was drinking Munbaesul to add to the amusement while at Yeongwangjeong by Daedonggang River. He started brushing 《大野東頭點山長城一面溶溶水》 when he paused and commanded a gisaeng (Korean female entertainer) sitting next to him to pour him a cup of Munbaesul and stopped writing. But due to such a great taste of the liquor, poets and painters present with Kim all quickly drank Munbaesul to empty the barrel. This is why his poem forever remained incomplete without the concluding remarks.

Characteristics of Munbaeju

The aroma of Munbae flowers lingering on the lips
 

There is a saying, “The most important feature of a liquor is its taste, and the core of its taste is its aroma.” Munbaesul is known to have the best aroma among all Korean liquors. The most notable features are its crisp, clean flavor and its lingering aroma. This famous liquor perfectly matches the antiquity of Korea’s long, traditional culture with its magnificent, 5,000-year-old culture.
The name comes from the aroma of Korea’s indigenous Mun pears and flowers. The fact that it does not use actual fruits from Munbae tree when reproducing the same aroma is a significant characteristic. Spirits of the same category as Munbaesul, such as China's Kaoliang Wine like Maotai, give off a yeasty aroma while Munbaesul does not have any of such odors and most people enjoy it for a gentle texture it brings to the tongue and mouth. Due to the high alcohol content, it can be stored for a long period of time.
Munbaeju was designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 86 on November 1st, 1986, and Master Lee Gi-chun and his son have inherited the production method as fourth- and fifth-generation masters.

Munbaeju Brewery

http://www.moonbaesool.co.kr

BBS401