Tasting – Fukucho Tokubetsu Junmai

Imada Shuzo Honten is in Higashi-Hiroshima city, some 90 kilometers up the Seto Inland Coast from where I sit. It’s a small brewery, producing around 300 600 (correction) koku a year, but its presence in the sake brewing industry is growing increasingly prominent. It is currently run by kuramoto/toji Imada Miho–one of the few women holding either role in Japan (and recently named one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2020). Apart from the attention that being a woman toji still brings, Imada’s sake itself is gaining a reputation for quality and individuality. Fukucho sake always to have a kind of fresh, juicy flavor that quickly becomes unmistakable.

Fukucho Tokubetsu Junmai Shiboritate Jikagumi Hon Nama
Hattan Nishi Rice, Seimaibuai 60%

This sake, a junmai made from Hattan Nishiki rice and sent by my friend Andy Russell very soon after pressing, is yet another example of this characteristic. It is a full flavored junmai, bottled direct from the fune press and just a touch cloudy from the remaining sediment. It is nama, of course, and while it has the expected vibrancy and hint of carbonation, it also clearly demonstrates that Fukucho juiciness.

In this case, rather than a tart apple, like I found in the Henpei I had, it was more of a ripe, mellow Peone grape. There was a clear umami note that was the final lingering note of an overall very quick, clean finish. It is not what I’d call a dry sake, but it is not excessively sweet, either. Perhaps the most defining character is crisp, refreshing juiciness. Every sip leaves you wanting more.

It is, simply stated, yet another genuinely delicious sake from Fukucho. I can’t remember yet hearing from anyone around me that they did not like one of these sakes, having tried one. They are eminently drinkable, while still being complex and interesting. That is something that indicates deep skill and care in brewing.

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