Daishichi Honjozo Kimoto "Classic"
Daishichi Honjozo Kimoto "Classic"

Daishichi Honjozo Kimoto "Classic"

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Daishichi Kimoto Honjozo is a textbook example of the traditional kimoto method of sake brewing. Creamy, rich, soft-- like melting horchata ice cream, oat milk dissipating into coffee-- spreading wide around the full breadth of the palate. Flavors of creamy rice porridge, macadamia nut, butter shortbread, freshly steamed brown rice, nutmeg, and creamy roasted parsnip.

Compared to the denser Junmai version, Daishichi honjozo is almost whipped: it has a bit of lightness, a slightly crisp feel. The use of a little bit of brewers alcohol to give lightness and improve stability defines this sake as a honjozo. Daishichi honjozo is unique in that they only use brewers alcohol distilled from rice: a commitment to the notion that sake must come exclusively from rice.







Brewery: Daishichi Sake Brewery Co. Ltd.
Prefecture: Fukushima, Nihonmatsu (inland)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku
Yeast: proprietary
Aging: 1-2 years at the brewery
Polish: 69% (using the super-flat rice polishing method Daishichi pioneered)
Grade: Honjozo (up to 10% of the rice by weight can be added as neutral spirit after the sake is brewed, but before it is pressed. This is a stylistic choice, not a way to dilute or make cheaper sake).
Recommended temp: lightly chilled to hot

President: currently on 10th generation, Ohta Hideharu

There are a few breweries in Japan that specialize in Kimoto sake, which you can think of as a traditional wild fermentation starter that yields creamy, tart results. Indeed, kimoto strikes fear into the hearts of many toji for all that can go wrong. So when you find a brewery that specializes, usually you're looking at a team that is highly technical, highly skilled, and proud of their brewery's microbial terroir.

Daishichi embodies this completely. They are the foremost authority on kimoto sake in Japan, producing this style exclusively, and over the last 40 years have innovated countless new technologies and styles. Their commitment to the brewery's microbiome is such that a complete facility rebuild took place around the original fermentation room to ensure that wild yeast and bacteria populations would not be disturbed.

I've loved Daishichi Honjozo with all sorts of everyday foods. Omurice, an omelette with tomato fried rice inside, was a surprisingly good companion-- the long, creamy kimoto finish mirrored the buttery, goopy eggs and the acidity typical of kimoto made an otherwise one-note dish more interesting. Other awesome pairings include Taiwanese hot pot, pork chops with a coarse spiced applesauce and parsnip, rajma masala with rice. Daishichi mentions fish meuniere which isn't what I'd expect to find on the average Portland table, but you know what, it actually sounds like a pretty solid pairing.