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Hanahato Karakuchi Honjozo

Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō is made of domestic rice grown in Hiroshima, milled to 68% (kōjimai) and 70% (kakemai), and Association Yeast No. 7. It is the driest sake in the Hanahato product range with an SMV of +10.
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Sake specs

Hiroshima (広島)
Rice type
Domestic rice (国産米)
Polishing rate (semaibuai)
68% (kōjimai), 70% (kakimai)
Alcohol content
Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō (華鳩 辛口 本醸造)

Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō (華鳩 辛口 本醸造) is made of domestic rice grown in Hiroshima, milled to 68% (kōjimai) and 70% (kakemai), and Association Yeast No. 7. It is the driest sake in the Hanahato product range with an SMV of +10. The 『辛口』(Dry) calligraphy on the label was designed by calligrapher Yamamoto Terumi (ヤマモトテルミ).

Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō (華鳩 辛口 本醸造) Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō (華鳩 辛口 本醸造) Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō (華鳩 辛口 本醸造) Hanahato Karakuchi Honjōzō (華鳩 辛口 本醸造)

About the brewery

Enoki Shuzō
Name in Japanese
2-1-15 Ondochō Minamiondo, Kure, Hiroshima 737-1205
Enoki Brewery is located in Ondo on Kurahashi Island, southeast of Hiroshima Bay and south of Kure City. Ondochō is the legendary Ondo-no-Seto (音戸の瀬戸), where Taira no Kiyomori arrested the setting sun with a fan to be able to complete his new capital, Fukuhara-kyō faster. Enoki Sake Brewery was founded in Ondo in 1899. Legend has it that the town is home to many descendants of fallen Heike warriors. That's why the brewery used the brand name "Kiyomori", but as historical views on Taira no Kiyomori were not favourable, the owners changed it to 'Hanahato' (華鳩), the primary brand name. 'Kiyomori' is still used as a sub-brand. Hanahato derives from the place name of Hato-oka (鳩岡), where the brewery is built.

Before the war, Enoki Brewery was awarded an honourary prize at national sake competitions. Since the 1950s, it has won 14 gold medals at the National New Sake Competition. In 2001, it won the National New Sake Competition and was the first brewery in Hiroshima to win four awards, including a gold medal at the National New Sake Competition. Since then, the brewery has won prizes in the National New Sake Competition and continues to produce high-quality sake. At the International Wine Challenge, the world's largest sake competition, held in London, in the old sake category, the brewery was awarded a gold medal for its 8-year-old kijōshu sake (貴醸酒), which won trophies in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2010, it was the champion. The brewery was the first in Japan to brew kijōshu in 1974.

Hanahato's sake is mild and gentle. The natural and deep flavour has a refreshing and sour taste. The water quality is medium-soft. The average rice polishing ratio is 60%. The brewery uses Yamadanishiki from Yoshikawa, Hyōgo, for its daiginjō; all other rice is grown in Hiroshima Prefecture. Hachitan-Nishiki and Koi-Omachi are used with high and flat rice polishing for special sake.

Kijōshu (貴醸酒)

Kijōshu was developed by the National Research Institute of Brewing and Fermentation as a sake for foreign dignitaries. It was named Kijōshu to denote a type of premium sake comparable to Kijō wine. Sake is made from rice, kōji and water; the main characteristic of kijōshu is that it is made from sake instead of water. At the end of the three-stage brewing process, the sake is brewed using junmai-shu instead of water. Brewing with sake allows the yeast to ferment the alcohol more slowly, producing rich, mellow, fragrant sake.

In 1974, Hanahato became the first company in Japan to produce kijōshu, based on a production patent from the National Tax Agency's brewing laboratory. In the early days, this type of sake was criticised, with some saying that such dark-coloured, sweet sake is not sake. Still, after repeated trial and error, the acceptance of kijōshu gradually grew as food culture diversified. Just as brewing water is essential for sake, kijōshu requires high-quality sake. It takes more time, effort and cost than sake, but the quality of the sake is preserved even when stored for a long time, and as it ages, it has a rich flavour that is smoother on the palate and has a more profound aftertaste with a sharpness.

The taste is rich and mildly sweet. It has a rich, full-bodied flavour with a raisin and nutty aroma. However, it has a more acidic flavour than ordinary sake, making it sweet but with a surprisingly refreshing aftertaste. The more it matures, the deeper the amber colour becomes, and the more mature the taste becomes. It may be closer to sherry or Madeira than to sake.

Oishi so Japan had an excellent feature on Enoki Brewery, its Hanahato brand, and kijōshu:

Latest reviews

Colour / hue
Pale Yellow
Hanahato's Karakuchi Honjozo is exceptionally dry, especially for Hiroshima sake. The label indicates an SMV of +11, which is way beyond super dry. It is of pale yellow colouration, almost transparent. Surprisingly, it has a sweet nose of moromi and dried fruits with spicy notes. A light, but not thin, body with refreshing acidity and dryness. Mild umami; both mid-palate and at the finish distinctly sharp. We served it chilled. Once it got warmer, a more sweet flavour emerged. Dry as it is, it should make for a formidable aperitif and go well with savoury dishes.

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4.00 star(s) 1 ratings
〒737-1205 広島県呉市音戸町南隠渡2丁目1−15

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