Tasting – Ride? Black 2021

Gokyo brewer Sakai Shuzo's Ride? Black was my favorite sake of 2020. This super-limited release is part of the brewery's annual Nomi no Ichi event, which in past years focused on bringing together its contract shops to taste special, rare brews to bid on which shop would carry them. The last two Nomi no Ichi... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Wakamusume Usuhanazakura

Wakamusume Usuhanazakura Junmai Ginjo, Saito no Shizuku Rice, Seimaibuai 60% Local nano-brewery Shintani Shuzo has become enormously popular after winning platinum in the 2020 KuraMaster awards in France, and now is basically only available by reservation. I luckily got my name on a list for this latest namagenshu pressing. I'm a big fan of Wakamusume,... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Dassai Kimoto 45

Despite the fact that Asahi Shuzo is a mere 30 minute drive from my house, I just don't drink that much Dassai. I suppose it's just too ubiquitous, too famous, and, well, too expensive for me to pay much attention to. I genuinely feel like Yamaguchi has such an embarrassment of riches when it comes... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Tenbi Junmai Ginjo

Choshu Shuzo is now well into the middle of its first brewing season, and toji Fujioka Miki has shipped out several batches of sake so far. I missed the last Tokubetsu Junmai, so I got hold of this third Junmai Ginjo to see how it has progressed since its first batch. Tenbi Junmai Ginjo, Nama... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Harada Junmai Daiginjo

Harada Junmai Daiginjo, Rice Choshu Yamadanishiki Tokujo, Seimaibuai: 40% I rang in the New Year with a bottle of Hatsumomiji Shuzo's super premium Harada Junmai Daiginjo. This one is made with Yamadanishiki sake rice grown locally in Yamaguchi prefecture (the historical name for this area is Choshu). The rice is also ranked Tokujo, which is... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Taka Autumn Harmony

Taka Autumn Harmony As the pandemic continues to hold down dining and drinking opportunities, breweries are struggling to figure out what to do with backing up stocks. Many breweries are choosing to try new things--and many are trying their hand at adventurous blends. This is one such. Aki Harmony is a mix of two tokubetsu... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

Event – Enjoying the Sake of Western Honshu

From Left to Right: Chiyomusumi Goriki 50 Junmai Ginjo (Chiyomusubi Shuzo, Tottori); Gassan Junmai Ginjo (Yoshida Shuzo, Shimane); Sake Hitosuji Honjozo (Toshimori Shuzo, Okayama) ; Kamoizumi Junmai (Kamoizumi Shuzo, Hiroshima) ; Gokyo Daiginjo Saito no Shizuku (Sakai Shuzo, Yamaguchi) On Saturday, November 21 the Hiroshima Tax Bureau sponsored an online seminar to show off sake... Continue Reading →

Tasting – Tenbi The First

Tenbi The First, nama genshu. Unlabeled junmai, due to unspecified seimaibuai. It is a rare thing to see a new sake brewery born. The hurdles to getting a new license to brew are wrapped in Catch-22 conditions, making it nigh impossible (by design) to start from scratch. However, old licenses are transferrable, and once you... Continue Reading →

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