It makes me sad how difficult it will be to explain the pun behind this sake’s name in English. But we’ll get to that. No need to cry.
Nakasu sake is is from Hatsumomiji, the makers behind Harada sake. It’s a local favorite, and a kura I’ve visited a few times. I like their sake, and this one is no different. It is different in one way: this sake is made from Koshihikari, a table rice, rather than the usual sake rice.
It’s not unheard of to make sake from table rice, but it’s unusual for a more premium maker to do so, and even more so for the maker to do it in a junmai. This particular sake is a junmai made with koshihikari milled to 65%. The rice was all grown in Yamaguchi prefecture, in a place called Nakasu!
And here’s where we get to the pun. The name on the label is 泣かす, which means “to make someone cry.” It is pronounced Nakasu, which is also how you pronounce the place where the rice was grown, 中須.
The sake itself was lovely. A full flavored by smooth junmai with a clean finish, it has an aroma of melons and vanilla, with a full umami base. It was a spectacular dinner sake, matching up to spicy-mustard pickles, fried chicken and salt rice. I never would have spotted it for a table-rice sake, since that’s usually a mark of a cheaper, low-shelf sake. But nope, this is a quality drink indeed.