This is a mysterious sake! What fun!
In my quest to find all the sakagura in Yamaguchi, I was surprised to find a couple in Shunan (very near to my house) that I’d never heard of, including one that I’d literally walked past before without realizing: Tominaga Shuzo.
I decided to drop by, because research showed they have a liquor shop attached and liquor shops don’t frown on drop in visitors. I’m glad I did, because I ended up having a very interesting chat with the ladies now running the place.
First thing’s first: Tominaga is no longer brewing sake. The do sell their own brand, though, which is this sake right here: it’s a junmai shu with seimaibuai of 60% (though not a ginjo).
The mystery is, they don’t reveal who brews it. It’s not on the label, and to find out I asked in a roundabout way and was gently deflected, so I gave up. It’s not THAT important, anyway. I’m assuming it’s either Yamagata Honten or Hatsumomiji, since they’re local kura that I know do order work for others.
The shop itself is a nice, small neighborhoos liquor shop. They have an assortment of high quality local foodstuffs like small batch soy sauce, local honey, and sesame paste I used to make hummus.
One very interesting thing is that the current owner’s father was a bottle hobbyist. He designed bottles for decoration, and used etching techniques to customize liquors for customers. They had some on display, not for sale any longer, and the owner and her mother were quite happy to talk about them.
As for the sake, it’s a fine one.
It has a strong apple/pear aroma, one I’d call ginjo-like myself, with a mild vanilla note. In the mouth it’s sweet apple and pear that is very well suited to room-temperature drinking.
There is a mild sourness and a touch of astringency on the tongue. It feels oddly watery on the finish, and finishes clean.
It’s flavorful if a bit rough, and oddly…not particularly moreish? I didn’t want to keep drinking it for some reason. It wasn’t off-putting, it wasn’t bad, just uninspiring.
And thus we knock another brewery off the big list!