While in Japan I purchased a few sakes that I brought home; for the most part these were all small or tiny bottles. Anyway, I thought that you might like to see what I got. In addition to these, a friend from Kizakura Brewing gave me a bottle of their sake. It is the only standard size (720ml) bottle in the group.
I’ll start with the Kizakura. This was a very thoughtful gift. I had looked for sake from this brewery but had not been able to find one that had not aged too long. It is a brewery in Fushimi in the southern part of Kyoto. Hopefully as the industry here in the US matures issues like having old sake (that is not meant to be old) on the shelf will disappear.
This sake is 15% alcohol, nihonshu-do (SMV) +3, san-do (acid level) 1.4, and the seimaibuai (rice milling level) is 55%. This is a nice clean sake. The aroma and taste very light, a solid ginjo; nicely balanced acidity.
This sake has 15-16% alcohol with a seimaibuai of 50%. I can’t tell what the other metrics, san-do, amino-san-do and SMV are. This sake is very nice; light, very slightly sweet at the front but clean with little on the back-end. I can’t really make out the aroma, it is very light. So, not much in the way of description but I like it.
The second Hakutsuru sake is a sparkling sake in a can. For this sake I can’t tell much from the label other than that it has about 5% alcohol. Wow! This is not what I was expecting. It smells like maraschino cherries, has a jelly like consistency as it comes glob, glob out of the can. There was a picture on the side of the can that looked like I should shake it but, I’m thinking – shake a carbonated drink before opening it – that’s not right. Very little carbonation but a little tingle left on the tongue after swallowing. Like drinking a 50:50 mixture of 7up with a light apple jello. I could have more, much more of this! I’ll shake it next time though.
And the side label.
The next sake is one I got in Kyoto and I believe it is from a Fushimi brewery. I have seen this one here in the stores but I have not tried it before. This Daiginjo is beautiful. And surprise, pull off the gold wrapping at the top and there is a pull cap.
I bought this one largely because of its very nice table on the back label. This table gives a seimaibuai of 49%, SMV of +4, san-do of 1.2ml, a 15% alcohol level and some other information that I have yet to decipher. Very light with hints of koji, some light acidity.
Finally, the last three sakes I brought home are from the same brewery but I have lost my notes that give the English name. The first of these is a Junmai.
This sake has a seimaibuai of 70% with an alcohol level of 15-16%. It has a complex sweet aroma. The taste is also a bit complex with plums or more likely prunes on the front with a bitter after taste. It is somewhat heavy on the pallet with little, if any, acidity.
Next is a Junmai Ginjo.
Same alcohol level as the junmai at 15-16% but the seimaibuai is 60%. It is somewhat lighter than the junmai with a little more acidity. The aroma and taste are very similar to the junmai but less assertive. There is a bitter after taste but with a powdery afterfeel on the tongue.
Finally, the last of the three sakes from this brewer is a Daiginjo.
This is a Junmai Daiginjo with a 40% seimaibuai and a alcohol level of 17-18%. At this level of alcohol it may be a genshu but I am not sure about this. This seems the best of the three to me with all the same aromas and tastes but much lighter and more subtle. Maybe a little more acidity or it may be that the acid just stands out more because the lighter characteristics overall.
Out of this group I very much liked the Kizakura, the Hakutsuru Daiginjo and the Hakutsuru sparkling sakes the best.