Fully embracing the "ultimate meal-time sake" ethos, both aroma and sweetness are subtle and subdued, taking maximum advantage of the Kura no Hana variety of rice favored in Miyagi Prefecture. Delicate at first, it proceeds to a well-rounded palate and neat aroma, before dissipating in a flurry that is unique to this sake. Without tiring the palate, savory notes gradually build from the third glass onward, commending it for any extended dining experience.
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...
Kaiyoshinko is a relatively new branding born out of the Shinko 190 rice variant, whose lineage is traced back to the Kame no O variety. The strain is gaining a lot of attention among brewers due to its suitability for sake production, although it presents a challenge to farmers owing to the unusual height of the rice stalks. This particular example is a result of specially contracted farming and a careful brewing process. Presenting fresh and lively at first, this progresses toward mineral notes, and a leaner, elegant body. Varying quantities of rice lees gives every bottle a unique quality, making each a one-off experience.
With a gentle flavor, light body, a delicate minerality, and clean finish, the focus here is on refreshment – dry without any heat or spice. The quality is excellent according to any measure, but together with the price it becomes exceptional.
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