Inter Rice Asia is proud to introduce the newest brand in our portfolio, 36 Guardians by Kikuisami Co., Ltd. This exclusive line pays homage to the rich legacy of Japanese culture, blending both tradition and innovation to create an unparalleled sensory experience.
Located in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, Kikuisami Co., Ltd has been in business since 1897. The brewery produces 2 brands of sake, namely Kikuyu and Sanjurokuninshu, which translates to “36 Guardians”.
The brand is named after the 36 vassals who protected the princess of the Fujiwara clan in the eastern provinces when it was destroyed in Minamoto no Yoritomo's conquest of Oshu. The group, in search of refuge, crossed the mountains and arrived in the fertile Shonai Plains. There, they found peace, put down roots, and a town was born. At that time, Sakata was a small port town facing the Sea of Japan. Descendants of the 36 vassals began a shipping business in the port and helped the town flourish into a lucrative region in the northern part of Japan. Mr Sato Takahiro, CEO of the Kikuisami Brewery himself is a descendant of these 36 Guardians.
The brewery has won both domestic and international awards for their sake making, and while planning to introduce the brand to a wider worldwide audience, kickstarted a brand renewal for 36 Guardians in 2023. They started with a fresh and modern revamp of the logo and labels, taking inspirations from the climate of the Shonai Plains.
As part of its plan to expand overseas, the brewery began a brand renewal for 36 Guardians in 2023. With it came a fresh and modern revamp of the logo and labels, taking inspirations from the climate of the Shonai Plains.
Singapore is the 1st country to import their sake since the rebranding and this new partnership was launched with a wonderful 5-course pairing dinner at Caviar where we showcased the full range of 5 meticulously crafted sakes and 1 sake-lees shochu.
“I believe that sake should never play the leading role. I believe that the role of sake should be to complement plethora of delicious food lined in front of you tonight.” What Mr Sato mentioned indeed came true, the 36 Guardians range indeed complemented the excellent menu so well.
We had a refreshing Shochu Highball to start the night, with wonderful aromas from the Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo sake-lees, the highball also helped to cleanse the palate in preparation for the starting course. The highball and the sweet potato roll with lobster oil butter really whet the appetite for the dishes to come.
The Junmai Daiginjo Sui-ten brought out the umami from the yellowtail mosaic served with magnum opus oscietra caviar and suppressed any hint of fishiness.
The Junmai Cho Karakuchi Gyo-ten with its clean and crisp dryness, brought our additional sweetness from the delicate Japanese scallop.
The Daiginjo Hi-ten with its elegance, enhanced the creaminess of the signature uni pasta, this pairing was definitely one of the biggest hits of the evening.
The robustness and body of the Junmai So-ten was chosen to stand up to the umami rich main courses of olive flounder with oyster mayonnaise, suckling pig with cordyceps mustard jus or wagyu beef cheek.
Dessert was a light golden apple yuzu mouse which had a surprising serving of caviar for a hint of savouriness, a wonderful accompaniment of the Obaka Umeshu Haruhime with its gentle sweetness and fresh tart plum flavour.
Great and enjoyable on their own, and compliments a wide variety of dishes - that's what we look for in a sake, and we're excited for the rest of Singapore to try the 36 Guardians sake! Browse the full range here.
To find out more about the brand, read the press release of the launch here.