New Newsletter!

Announcing the Ochoko Times! My new newsletter starting from November 15, 2020. I'm just getting the hang of it, but my plan is to send emails twice monthly, one in the middle and one at the end. The emails will feature western Japan sake news and reviews, event updates and recaps, and also look at... Continue Reading →

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Event – Enjoying the Sake of Western Honshu

From Left to Right: Chiyomusumi Goriki 50 Junmai Ginjo (Chiyomusubi Shuzo, Tottori); Gassan Junmai Ginjo (Yoshida Shuzo, Shimane); Sake Hitosuji Honjozo (Toshimori Shuzo, Okayama) ; Kamoizumi Junmai (Kamoizumi Shuzo, Hiroshima) ; Gokyo Daiginjo Saito no Shizuku (Sakai Shuzo, Yamaguchi) On Saturday, November 21 the Hiroshima Tax Bureau sponsored an online seminar to show off sake... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Tenbi The First

Tenbi The First, nama genshu. Unlabeled junmai, due to unspecified seimaibuai. It is a rare thing to see a new sake brewery born. The hurdles to getting a new license to brew are wrapped in Catch-22 conditions, making it nigh impossible (by design) to start from scratch. However, old licenses are transferrable, and once you... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Go To Drink Gokyo

Go To Drink Tokyo, Junmai ginjō (Blend) The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on the world, and this is of course true of the sake world as well. Brewers have seen plummeting sales, which is bad, and also seen stock back up in their warehouses and tanks, which is very bad. If they don't make... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Senpo Tensei Junmai Ginjo

Senpo Tensei Junmai GinjoYamadanishiki, 50% Seimaibuai Made with Kumamoto-sourced #9 yeast (so-called Kuma Kyu). This sake comes all the way from Kanagawa prefecture, and was made by small Kumazawa Shuzo. It was recommended by sake evangelist John Gauntner at an online event during the whole corona lockdown thing back in the spring, and has been... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Gokyo Toratan Hiyaoroshi

Toratan Hiyaoroshi, (Technically junmai). Made with unclassified yamadanishiki rice Gokyo released two hiyaoroshi this year. One was made with a yamadanishiki/nihonbare blend, and the other, this one, was made with yamadanishiki grown by the Toratan agricultural collective near Iwakuni city. The rice used for this one was "unclassified," meaning that for some reason it did... Continue Reading →

Sake Professional Course

If there is one good thing that the pandemic has brought, it is an absolute GLUT of online classes, webinars and seminars that I normally wouldn't have access to from humble Yamaguchi. Thus did my chance to become a Certified Sake Professional appear. A Certified Sake Professional is Me! With the pandemic still making in-person... Continue Reading →

Hiyaoroshi – An Ode to Autumn

This season, which has nearly passed us by, is the season of rich food, cool breezes, and the joys of autumn sake: hiyaoroshi. In the simplest explanation, this sake was pressed in the spring, tanked and pasteurized once, then bottled and shipped in autumn without the second pasteurization. In technical terms, this makes it namazume.... Continue Reading →

Daruma Masamune Koshu Study

Daruma Masamune is a label used by Gifu Prefecture brewery Shiraki Tsunesuke Shoten (English link). They are a very unusual brewery, in that their main focus is on koshu: aged sake. Many breweries store some of their sake away for sale farther down the road (Gokyo releases a 15-17 year old koshu every year, for... Continue Reading →

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