Room, from Yachiyo Shuzo, is not a new sake to me. I’ve had it at events and festivals before. However, this is my first bottle at home, and it is a different experience when enjoyed in your own living room.
As I have mentioned before, Room is the first solo produced sake from Kumiko Kaba, a young woman training to take over as Toji from her grandfather. The label, name and recipe are all geared toward a younger market, and likely women as well, but the sake still has a firm root in tradition.
This is a junmai ginjo with a bright, white peach and apple aroma. The front end sip is quite sweet and vibrant, but the finish widens out to a big, umami aftertaste that lingers on the back of your tongue for a while. I’d call this a medium bodied sake for the aftertaste alone, although it doesn’t have the heaviness you’d associate with a drier, nojun type. So this balances well the modern taste for lighter ginjo sake, while still offering a heftier bite for more traditional tastes.
It’s overall very drinkable and moreish, and I’d recommend it highly.
There is something very interesting about the back label, though…
At the bottom, it reads “Distributed by Yachiyo Shuzo, Made by Sumikawa Shuzo.” Now, this is interesting. Normally, this indicates what they call in the industry a “kari-kura,” where a sakagura that can’t handle its own production outsources its recipe to another and labels the product for its own distribution. But Yachiyo is an up and running sake brewery, with a steady production available already.
The official explanation seems to be that, Kaba has been doing her training to take over as toji at Sumikawa, and this batch is one that she was given full control over. The sake took off, and now is everywhere.
I wonder how it will proceed when she returns to Yachiyo as the 5th generation Kuramoto and toji? Whatever happens, she’s certainly made a splash with her first sake!