Shoin Junmai Daiginjo – Tasting

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Shoin Limited Edition Junmai Daiginjo from Yamagata Honten. 50% Seimaibuai.

In the cup this time is a limited Junmai Daiginjo from Shunan city’s own Yamagata Honten. This bottle is named after and dedicated to Yoshida Shoin, a historical figure from Hagi, Yamaguchi, who was somewhat influential in the Meiji Restoration as a teacher of many of the more famous figures. The man himself died young after being jailed several times for political rabble rousing, but he did leave enough of a mark to get a museum and, for a limited time, this sake named after him.

A Hagi political figure in Hagi-yaki.
A Hagi political figure in Hagi-yaki.

Yamagata is the first sake brewery I ever toured, and in the years since then has grown quite well regarded in the local brewing world. The new Toji moved to a year-round brewing system and has created some brews in the Mori line that are real heavy hitters. So I was expecting good things from this one.

The initial uwadachika aroma was mellow-sweet, hints of apple and banana giving way to a touch of rice.

This translated directly into the first sip, with an understated sweetness balanced with a touch of nutty bitterness and mild umami. The nuttiness strengthened in the aftertaste, with a touch of sourness for a complex back end.

This is a relatively mellow drink, with enough alcohol harshness to make it suited more for a lively social scene than contemplative sipping. It’s perhaps just the thing for fomenting a rebellion against the ruling military class!

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