Sorry if this is getting a bit long -- I'm pretty ignorant of which details matter, so I'm including as many as I can in case some are relevant, haha.
tl;dr, what's a decent but not-too-expensive brand of shochu I can ask a local liquor store to order for me?
I've looked around, and as far as I can tell there's one liquor store in my area (Upstate NY near Albany) that carries shochu, and it's a product of Vietnam labeled "shochu/soju".
I liked it quite a bit, but the store is pretty far out of my way, so I was hoping a more conveniently located store could order some for me. But the two I've been to have never heard of shochu, and they say they need a brand/company name to order from.
Since I have no knowledge on the subject, I was hoping someone here might be able to help. I don't want to waste the store's time or my money on something I'm going to hate.
I'm not looking for super top-shelf stuff -- something that's maybe $20 for 750ml would be fine and dandy. I can go over if need be.
I'd prefer a Japanese brand (they should be the masters of it, right?), but that's not a dealbreaker. If all else, fails, I can just go back to the out-of-the-way store and find out the name of the brand they carry.
If it matters, one thing I enjoyed was how smooth it was -- no "burn" typical of spirits stronger than wine, no pronounced bitterness. It was barely-based (unmalted), if that matters.
I appreciate any help you fine folks can give me! Thanks for reading.