Ugo no tsuki (Moon after rain), Special Junmai

When completely fermented, sake contains a higher neat alcohol content than any other brewed liquor – typically around 16-17% – which has a tendency to render it overpowering when matching with cuisine, not to mention the health concerns. For this reason, modern commercial sake is 'cut down' to a strength of around 13% – similar to wine – leading to a style of which this brewery has been particularly adept. Submitted to the most extensive examination board in the world, this sake took first place in the junmai class at the 2013 Sake Competition, overcoming stiff competition from many other lauded producers and attracting critical acclaim among professionals. With its light body, balance and breadth of flavor and acidity, and easy-drinking quality, it is fortunate that it sits at a modest 13% after all...

Mii no Kotobuki, Natsu-jungin, Cicala

Part of an ever-popular 'Italian series' – with flavours and labels riffing on a theme for each season – the Cicala reflects the character of summer, while the brown bottle acknowledges the trees that bear its raucous namesake on the label, the cicada. With its yeast strains producing notably high levels of malic acid during fermentation, both the aroma and flavor profile resemble that of apples – either crisp and refreshing, if served chilled, or showing a mild sweetness when served at room temperature. Perfect as an introduction to sake, or for those who struggle with other examples, and a well-balanced summer drink from any angle.