Kinsuzume from Horie Sakaba in Iwakuni is getting a lot of buzz from local sake lovers, but the only reason I can get from anyone is that it’s good. It is good! But I don’t know why everyone is excited over goodness anymore. There is a ton of good Yamaguchi sake these days, so it usually takes something new and special to generate buzz. They did win gold in the IWC Junmai Daiginjo division last year and the year before, but Yamaguchi breweries are winning tons of medals these days, and for sakes that don’t cost 30,000 yen a bottle. So… Who knows! But yes, Horie makes great sake.
I actually tried an experiment with this one. I opened it and drank it fresh on August tenth. It was a hearty sake, primarily big on junmai umami savoriness. It left a clean finish with a mild astringency and was quite good with oilier food like pork steak.
Then, I let it sit in the refrigerator for a few weeks. This is usually not common, most people try to drink sake as soon as possible. But I wanted to see what happened with this one. It helps that the bottle is pitch black, keeping harmful light out.
On August 29 I cracked it open and drank it out of a tokkuri (one my son bought me–d’aaaww!). It was a totally different drink. It had gone from being a karakuchi, umami-heavy drink to being a nojun amakuchi. It was almost syrupy sweet, while still having a clean finish like before. Why? Was it me? Was it the environment? Had some changes occurred in the bottle to release that sweetness? Or was it the tokkuri?! I don’t know.
What I can say is this: taste is not only subjective, changing from person to person, but also changing from day to day. The thing that we think we experience is filtered through so many levels of perception that it can be almost hard to know what is real and what isn’t. This is why things like tasting events are always strictly controlled as to temperature, climate, even lighting, so that everyone is still tasting on the same baseline. Still…
It’s all so hard to know.
One thing I can say is, this sake was good either way.