Moriki Shuzo Tae no Hana Junmai Kimoto Muroka Nama Genshu 2023 "Sublime Beauty"

Moriki Shuzo Tae no Hana Junmai Kimoto Muroka Nama Genshu 2023 "Sublime Beauty"

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This super-unique, one of a kind sake has high umami, high intensity, high complexity, and evolves over time. When it's fresh from the brewery you'll get notes of dried banana, vanilla, soft pear, brown butter, whole grains, Nag Champa incense, white miso, fresh coconut meat, and crispy roasted chicken. The palate has elements that remind me of kombu dashi-- a bit saline and marine. It's chewy, full, and delicious.

“We’ve been making Challenge 90 since 2003, a year in which my husband had excess rice and wanted to do something with it. It was around the same time that we started to use Yamada Nishiki and the same time that we started to use a traditional yeast mash (kimoto), meaning that that we were going back to our roots, expressing traditional brewing methods in a modern way. The yield of rice we grow without pesticides varies from year-to-year, so when we have one hundred kilogram of extra rice, we make a traditional yeast mash.

In terms of cultivating Yamada Nishiki, Mr. Hase advised us that it’s like a weed, so we should not treat it in the same way as improved rice varieties, but rather grow it stoically without giving it much of anything. Then the true character of Yamada Nishiki will come out. In fact, there were times when I followed this advice to the letter and ended up with poor rice (haha). 

Challenge 90 came from the idea that there was no need to polish Yamada Nishiki, which had been grown stoically and was free from any miscellaneous flavours, in order to bring out its full potential.”

Youtuber Sake Boss likes it with bacon cheeseburgers, and in my experience anything big, bold, and high umami will do the trick. Aged steaks, pepperoni, broccolini pizza, okonomiyaki & takoyaki, yakitori, blue cheese, veggies & warm bagna cauda (or look up Jeremy Fox's recipe for miso bagna cauda), tonkotsu ramen... whatever the case, Sublime Beauty will cut right through and in the finish, reverberate and reanimate the best flavor elements from the dish.


  • Prefecture: Mie
  • Rice: Yamadanishiki (estate grown organic)
  • Polishing: 90%
  • Grade: Junmai Kimoto Muroka Nama Genshu
  • Yeast: ambient
  • Starter: Kimoto
  • Acidity: 1.9
  • SMV: +8 (dry)
  • Vintage: 2023

Rumiko Moriki, former toji and current owner/director of Moriki Shuzo, was one of the first (if not the first) few female master brewers in the modern age in Japan. Rumiko is the 5th generation of Moriki Shuzo and runs it with her biochemist husband Hideki in the small town of Iga, also famous for ninjas. 

Soon after beginning her career as a pharmacist, Moriki’s father suffered a stroke, forcing her to take over. Soon after, the large company buying their tanks cancelled their contract-- right after their two sons were born. Inspired by the manga Natsuko no Sake and under the tutelage of Ogawahara of Shinkame Shuzo, in 1989 Moriki switched to Junmai-only brewing. In 1992 the toji left, and Moriki tried her hand as toji. She assumed the role full-time in 1998 with support from her husband-- particularly with respect to the microbial side of production, and in an ongoing fashion as the intuitive director of rice soaking and preparation. In 1995 the brewery began cultivating their own rice organically, and when they began to product a small surplus of house rice in the early 2000s, the excess was used for kimoto experimentation. This rice was ultimately used to create the Tae no Hana Challenge 90 sake: a testament to the natural flavor potential of Iga-grown Yamadanishiki and the microbes that occupy their mud-walled brewery.

The current toji, Rie Toyomoto, began working at Moriki Shuzo in 2000 and took over as toji in 2020.

To learn more, check out this interview with Signor Sake.