Sake

Akishika Shuzo Osaka Prefecture Black Moheji Junmai

There are a few examples of single-paddy rice sake that I know of (Isojiman perhaps being the most famous) but all are very expensive and very hard to find.It was very exciting for me get to taste this example from Akishika, and especially to compare it to the normal omachi rice bottling. A particular stand-out of the Yoigokochi Imports tasting, and a bottle I knew I had to get my hands on to explore further. This is made from omachi rice from a single paddy, farmed organically, that is milled to 60% and then aged for 4 years before release. In total,  308 kg of rice were brewed into 660 liters of sake. There is a remarkable citrus element to this, almost like dashi broth with yuzu peel. The nose also shows a hint of green melon, green  melon rind, fresh citrus, lemon zest, cantaloupe, some white blossom, but also a hint of caramel, cut hay, Parmesan rind, smokiness, cedar, and a general savory, woodsy note. The palate carries a lot of intensity, with all the complexity of the nose and a roundness and richness to the texture, as well as a very long finish. This sake is quite beguiling, occasionally being totally driven by its more savory and earthy tones, only for the next sip to introduce burst of fresh citrus and tropical fruit; truly something to take your time with. The bottle I opened felt a little tightly wound at first, and definitely started to open up as it approached room temperature, but was even better the next day. Paired this with a whole branzino, but given a second chance, would have gone for something slightly heartier, as this sake has so much flavor, umami, and oomph. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 4 in stock
  • $82.99

  • Junmai Daiginjo
  • 12 in stock
  • $6.99

Kokken Tokubetsu Junmai 720ml

For those who like to have some dryness with their drink, and are also looking into trying sake, Kokken Yume no Kaori Tokubetsu Junmai is a great starter. Made from the locally grown rice of Yume no Kaori, found in Southern Aizu in Fukushima, Japan, this tokubetsu junmai will please drinkers with both its aroma and taste. On the nose, you'll get a gentle smell of fruit. But on the tongue, you'll be pleased by the mellow and dry fruit flavor while having freshness throughout from front to back on the tongue. At the back, you'll get a pleasant pop on the finish to remind you what you're tasting. Louis Jones

  • Junmai
  • 3 in stock
  • $22.99

Nishi Shozu Tenshi No Yuwako Japan 750 ml

A unique find, this is a sweet potato and white rice kohi Shochu aged in Sherry casks for a rich, nutty flavor. The name 'Tenshi No Yuwako' translates to 'Angels Temptation' and refers to the angel's share which lost from evaporation and reduces down the spirit giving it a thicker, creamier texture.

  • 7 in stock
  • $64.99

  • Junmai Ginjo
  • 7 in stock
  • $33.99

Terada Honke Chiba Prefecture Kaikoshu Junmai

"Koshu", or aged sake is a very niche category, and quite polarizing. Yoram, one of the folks involved in Yoigokochi Sake Imports owns a bar in Kyoto which specializes in serving aged sake, some that is even long-aged after the bottle has been opened. I've never had the opportunity to experience Yoram's bar, but the friends who have gone have either raved about it, or found it very weird. Most sake professionals will tell you that sake should be consumed fresh, and there is no point aging it (sake has no tannins, no sulfur, and lower acidity than wine, the things commonly accepted as allowing wine to age). Undoubtedly aged sake is different, and the flavor profile changes so much, it's almost difficult to guess what the sake was when it was fresh. A lot of it can be very intense, something you would maybe have a glass of, but would find it difficult sharing a bottle between two people. This example by Terada Honke shows all the hallmarks of aged sake, yet also has a drinkability that (for me) belies its years. Made from organic Miyamanishiki & Koshihikari rice, this sake is then aged for 15 years at the brewery before release, and shows notes of caramel, cheese, smoke, cured meat, resin, oolong tea, chestnut honey, and a hint of bitterness, almost wormwood. Quite sherry-like on the nose, the palate also has a lushness and softness to it, with the textural quality of the sake melding beautifully with its flavors. Enjoy with cheese after a meal, or pair with robust foods, perhaps a dry-aged steak. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 5 in stock
  • $72.99

  • Organic

Terada Honke Chiba Prefecture Katori 90 Junmai 1.8L

The same, but in big bottle!!!The Katori 90 from Terada Honke is a really interesting sake, made not of sake rice, but regular table rice (Koshihikari and Yukigesho) polished to a very minimal 90%. This leaves a lot of the rice flavor in the sake itself, since the theoretically "impure" outside of the rice hasn't been completely milled away. This minimal style of polishing is something we've been seeing more breweries experiment with, and the results can be fascinating, leading to very flavorful and forthright sake. Savory, slightly musty, with Terada Honke's hallmark high acidity, the Katori 90 shows notes of toasted grain, barley tea, slight cheese rind, citrus peel, a general woodsiness, and a hint of caramel and spice (Terada Honke sake are aged for about a year at the brewery before release, which would account for the caramel and spice notes). Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 3 in stock
  • $62.99