Fruity nose, fruitier than other Tokubetsu Junmai. Very fruity palate (apples and pear) and hints of cereal. Aromatic and rich, well-balanced and rounded. Elegant, smooth finish. Tops the Junmai Ginjo we had last week. I can't wait to compare it to the Junmai Daiginjo waiting in the refrigerator.
Takara is an industry giant known for its shōchu and chuhai available at supermarkets and convenience stores across Japan. We found this bottle at OK Store which seems to be a major distribution channel for Takara. At around 600 yen, we were a little reluctant to buy, however, curiosity prevailed. With a strong nose of cereal, green, and - not surprising - alcohol, the Ryōma ga yuku ("Ryōma goes his way", alluding to a historical novel by Japanese author Shiba Ryōtaro) turned out to be quite mild. It has a slightly spicy, alcoholic finish but gets milder if you leave it in the refrigerator for a few days. It's an easy-to-drink table sake but I doubt we will have it again on our table. Also available as cask sake (2-litre box).
We have tried both the "regular" Takao no Tengu and the hiyaoroshi variation. It is an excellent junmai ginjo with a distinctly sweet fragrance—a fruity and floral nose with hints of fungi and koji and a rich and well-balanced body. Having matured over the summer, the hiyaoroshi appears to be a tad richer and crispier.
The autumn version of Morito's Tokubetsu Junmai: one of the best special junmai sake we have had the pleasure to taste. With a nose of gingerbread, dried fruits and a whisper of nuts, it is a well-balanced mouthful, rich and fragrant, quite dry and aromatic—spicy finish. We enjoyed it at room temperature, as recommended by the brewery.
This was our first junmai daiginjo from Nambu Bijin's Beauty Series (and it won't be the last one). We used our Riedel glasses for degustation. It has a fruity nose with hints of peaches and strawberries and overtones of koji—a light and fresh body reminiscent of a chablis.
Our first impression of the Masugu was that of a very light and dry Junmai with a nose of marzipan and (according to my wife) cinnamon. Due to its slightly strong acidity, it has a refreshing flavour. Initially a little thin, it revealed its subtle and well-balanced character upon further sittings—smooth and mild finish.
Exquisite and fruity nose, moderate sweetness. It is smooth and slightly sparkling and dissolves into an elegant umami taste, dry and moderately astringent on the palate. This is like a culinary firework!
This wasn't our first Fukucho; however, the Cosmos convinced us that Imada Miho deserves her accolades. The Akisakura is a hiyaoroshi, an autumn sake, made in spring that has matured over the summer. It has a sublimely fruity nose reminiscent of pineapple with floral notes. Fruity and umami it has a crisp and mildly sour finish. A marvellous autumn brew.
The Kaganoi Sake Brewery has a base of loyal followers who supported the brewery after its production site burned down in 2016. They resumed production only two years later. The Higurashi is a surprisingly inexpensive junmai daiginjo: its nose is not fruity but comes with a hint of fungi and a moderate scent. Not too sweet, it has a slightly spicy and alcoholic finish. Mild.
This is one of Ichinokura's most popular types of sake. A herbal nose of grass. Yeasty and slightly sweet, moderate acidity. Refreshing, but not as spicy and crisp as Ichinokura's "chokarakuchi" variety. Relatively light body, spicy finish.
This is the "super-dry" version of Ichinokura's Tokubetsu Junmai. Colour of light straw. A mild nose of cereal and herbs; hints of dried fruit. Slightly thin on first impression but gradually revealing its true class. Very refreshing, spicy finish. We enjoyed it with sashimi and will revisit in the future.
This is the fourth Sasaichi we had the pleasure to savour, and we loved it. We paired it with hodate (scallops) fried in miso-butter sauce and chestnut rice. The Gohyakugawa has an outstanding balance of spiciness and acidity with a nose of fungi and hints of marzipan. Very earthy, yeasty and slightly sweet, spicy finish. Exquisite!
Kakushi Ginjō is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores in 300ml bottles and yes, it is a cheaper variation of ginjō. It is a light table sake with a pleasantly fruity nose and a clear and mildly sweet taste: affordable sake that is best enjoyed chilled over a good selection of Japanese food.
My first impression was that of light, mild, and watery sake. Fruity nose with hints of banana and green apples. Moderate sweetness and umami. Very refreshing pungency. Slightly bitter and astringent finish, overall mid and well-balanced. Recommended!
Te Ninki-Ichi Natural Sparkling is an awasake according to the definition of the Japan Awasake Association: it uses Japanese rice, the only ingredients are rice, water and koji, and it is the result of natural fermentation (bottle or vat). It is transparent and clear when served. In the case of the Ninki Ichi, re-fermentation occurs in the bottle: it is therefore slightly cloudy, fizzy, and very refreshing. It is crisp and has a light and fresh nose of apple and pineapple, and a full, fruity mouthfeel with fine bubbles and an overtone of yoghurt. Perfect as a digestif or with dessert.
A nose of green and dried fruits. Tanrei (mild and light), dry with a tingle of sweetness. Spicy finish that melts away on your palate. This is kanzake (燗酒), sake that can be consumed warm. We had it at room temperature, and it was exquisite.
This is a Nambu-type junmai daiginjo. Nambu refers to the former Nanbu Domain (南部藩) in Mutsu Province (modern-day northeastern Japan) and the typical northern brewing style that results in a well-balanced aroma and intense spiciness. The Asabiraki has a fruity nose (with tingles of banana, melon, and green apple). Surprisingly mild mouthfeel, moderate acidity with a markedly spicy aftertaste.
Floral, spicy nose with a slightly sweet undertone of marzipan and fungi. It has a fresh aroma and a rich taste and is easy to drink at 16.5%, which is fairly low for unpasteurised sake. An inexpensive nouveau sake (with no water added, according to the label). Exquisite!
"Zaku" is one of the brands of Shimizu Seizaburo Shoten, a brewery located in Suzuka, a town usually more associated with Formula 1 than with sake. Most likely, the Ise-Shima Concept sake was created to commemorate the G7 Ise-Shima Summit held in 2016; while the label doesn't mention the rice used, the brewery's website states that they use Kaminohana, a relatively new type of rice produced in Mie Prefecture, polished down to 55%.
It has a very noticeable fruity aroma (strawberry and pineapple), its nose can be described as firm and sweet. The Ise-Shima Concept is quite sweet; however, the alcohol taste and pungency become more pronounced as the temperature of the sake rises. It has a full flavour with notes of pineapple and a slightly bitter mouthfeel. Crisp and spicy finish with a sweet aftertaste.
I bought two of them by accident and couldn't be happier.