I like to focus on Yamaguchi and the surrounding prefectures on this blog, since they seem to get fairly little attention compared to, say, Niigata or Fukushima. I think it’s fair to say that Kochi prefecture, on the nearby island of Shikoku, is close enough to qualify. Plus, this sake is called Drunken Whale. I couldn’t just let that go!
Shikoku itself is only a short ferry ride from Yamaguchi, and is often completely ignored by people when talking about Japan. It has a very low urban population, and even then Kochi is particularly rural. It’s main claims to fame is clean water and beautiful mountains–and, appropriately, sake.
I’ve not tried any Kochi brews before this, but they are known for being easy on the throat and relatively dry (in this case, meaning not sweet). Suigei is clearly no exception.
The uwadachi aroma on opening is very reminiscent of fresh steamed rice. The appearance is clear and glossy.
The first sip was mellow and rice-y, with a very subdued sweetness. It went down like water.
The aftertaste was again mellow and understated, smooth and easy on the throat but…hard to identify? If someone asked me what it tasted like, I’m not sure I could answer.
This sake is imminently drinkable and is probably best for people who want to have sake with a lightly flavored meal. It will not clash with anything, and is in fact so mellow you might not notice you’re drinking it at all.
So while this is clearly a well-made sake with excellent ingredients, it’s not an “impact” sake. You won’t impress people at dinner with it unless they’re already Kochi sake fans, and it’s not really a “sake night” kind of drink. It’s mild and mellow and meal-centered, I’d say, rather than full flavored and social-centered.
Good, but not what I look for in a sake.
I bought a bottle of that same sake in a supermarket in Kagawa Prefecture just north of Kochi and nearly drank it on the spot. It set me back 1,080 Y only. I agree that it is not the ultimate “holy grail” you will be looking for. But it offered excellent value for money and was highly drinkable stuff (that’s what they like in Kochi).
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