Tasting – Harada Tobingakoi Junmai Festival Edition

The event I talked about last time sold a couple of limited edition sakes. This is one of them! It’s a junmai tobingakoi, meaning it was filtered by being hung in cotton bags and funneled directly into a glass tank before it is pumped into the bottles.

The brewmaster filling bottles from a glass tank
Harada Toji is filling bottles directly from a tobin, the glass tank on the right, for immediate sale.
Hatsumomiji Shuzo Harada Junmai Tobingakoi Limited Festival Edition.

The thing I really like about tobingakoi is that it always has an exciting level of complexity to it. It has all the vibrancy of a namazake (which this is, as well as being genshu), in addition to a whole blend of flavor elements that you just don’t find in regularly pressed sakes.

On top of that, this one has a degree of freshness that you just don’t get outside of brewery-direct sales.

Tokubetsu Junmai muroka namagenshu
100% Yamaguchi grown Yamadanishiki rice, seimaibuai of 60%

I think you can see where I’m going with this. It’s a fantastic sake.

It has a vibrant, full-bodied flavor with notes of fresh rice, clean melon and stone-fruit, and the perfect balance of umami. It’s a rich sake, meaning it stands up well to meals with lots of meat and saltier dishes, but it would clash with lighter fish or chicken meals.

Of course, beyond the sake (and it’s lovely bail-stopper bottle), the memory of the festival and the people who made it add so many layers to this drink, that it’s impossible to tell where the sake begins and the context ends.

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