Are you adventurous enough to take the plunge? These sakes are brewed in unique styles that differ from the usual "clean and refined" taste. "Cloudy" sake that some people mistaken as spoilt goods, the lost art of sake brewed in a traditional cedar barrel and even sake brews that date back to 600 years ago! The Unique Sake bundle will expand your horizon on the world of sake.
For people who have experience in tasting Japanese Sake, I find that they can be broadly spilt into 2 categories. The first category are people who only tasted cheap table sake. Generally, the opinion of these people tend to be that sake is very ricey, cereal with quite a lot of alcohol. The second category are people who tasted ginjo or daiginjo sakes. They will view sake as fruity/floral, very wine-like with elegant and clean finishes.
Most people have not tried the more unique styles, which add a lot of character to Japanese Sake as a category. From cloudy, sparkling to aged sakes, many of these taste so unique that drunk blind, some will never be associated with the normal clean, elegant association with sake. Note that these styles are independent on grades. For example, you can have a nigorizake that is either a honjozo, junmai or junmai daiginjo.
Sake No.1 is my personal favourite when it comes nigorizake. The brewery is the first to introduce the style, and they have a lot of time to stamp their personality on it. They make more than 5 different types of Nigori! The brewery is situated in Fushimi, Kyoto, famous for their soft fushimimizu water, and the area makes almost 20% of all sake in Japan. Their Junmai Daiginjo Nigori is a joy to taste, and although it is cloudy, it finishes clean on your palate.
Since the early 1900s, sake has been brewed in stainless steel tanks. They can be made faster, larger, and are easier to clean and sterilised. Traditionally, sake was brewed in cedar barrels (tanks) called kioke. There is only 1 kioke producer left in Japan that can make barrels so large. Imayotsukasa's Kioke is around 2500 litres.
Sake production techniques was actually perfected by monks and priests around 1400s. In the past, they did not recognise how enzymes in water affected brewing, which was why certain water sources were so prized. Tsuji Honten of Gozenshu, home to a team of young brewers, pledge to bring back the ancient styles of sake making. The Bodaimoto techinique involves saturating brewing water with enzymes to promote a more vigorous brew.
1) Tsuki No Katsura Junmai Daiginjo Nigori
Fruity aroma of pear, refreshing acidity and smooth texture. It is lightly sparkling like champagne. When the bubble settles down, it adds the aromas of rice and bread. Recommended with Hot Pot and Sukiyaki.
2) Imayotsukasa Junmai Daiginjo Woodcask
Style: Wood Cask
Fermented in a traditional wooden sake tank lends vanilla and cedar notes, on top of straw and fragrant mushrooms. A slight pleasant astringency can be found on the palette, and the flavors are gentle and calming.
3) Gozenshu Junmai Bodaimoto Nigori
Style: Bodaimoto + Nigori
An age old method creates a playful sake with a full mouthfeel, zesty sweetness and flavors of ripe fruit. Perfect for cheeses. Great balance and unique flavour.