Nishiki Sekai – Tasting

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The next brewery to take off my list from the Great Yamaguchi Sakagura Project is Takeuchi Shuzojo (Japanese link to sole online seller). This is a small, old brewery in Hofu, Yamaguchi, about 50km away from me here. It’s got very limited distribution, and I literally know of only one shop that carries it: Ikedaya Saketen, in Hofu. Luckily, my wife went to Hofu to visit a friend this week and brought me back three bottles.

This is a Junmai brew, made with 100% Yamadanishiki rice grown in Hofu (yay for local production for local consumption!) milled to 60%.

The bottle doesn’t say so, but Ikedaya’s website suggests this is a Tanrei Karakuchi dry style sake. This is very rare down in Yamaguchi, where most breweries lean toward amakuchi, sweeter sakes.

The initial aroma, or uwadachika, is a full bodied, heavy aroma reminiscent of treacle. This is the kind of smell I associate with old fashioned, cheaper sakes like Kinfundo’s Jousen.

However, in the mouth it’s a totally different story. The initial attack contains a trace of that treacley sweetness but fades almost instantly into the mildly astringent trademark Tanrei Karakuchi mouthfeel. It’s literally more of a feel than a taste, as there is only a mild balance of sour acidity and very mild sweetness with a touch of rice, that vanishes on swallowing. You’re left with a clean, mild astringency. My wife, who is not at all a sake drinker, found it extremely drinkable.

This is the cleanest, sharpest sake I think I can remember drinking. The aroma speaks of heaviness and cloying flavor, but there is none of that here: just a few flashing flavors and a pleasant mouthfeel.

I am truly impressed, and I wish this sake had more recognition. I think it would go over well with people looking for something other then the proliferating sweet, tangy sakes like Ohmine.

ptr

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