Daishichi Kimoto Honjozo is a textbook example of classic kimoto sake. Its texture is unmistakeable: a creamy, rich, lingering weightiness, like melting horchata ice cream, spreading wide around the full breadth of the palate. The acidity is much higher than average but you almost wouldn't realize it because the weight and creaminess masks the acidity. It has a full body like cashew milk, flavors of creamy congee, macadamia nut, butter shortbread, freshly steamed brown rice, nutmeg, and creamy roasted parsnip. The honjozo is almost whipped: it has a bit of lightness, a slightly crisp feel, while the junmai version is dense and chewy. Daishichi honjozo is unique too in that they only use spirits distilled from rice-- a commitment to the notion that sake must come exclusively from rice.
I've loved Daishichi Honjozo with all sorts of everyday foods. Omurice, an omelette with tomato fried rice inside, was a suprisingly 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.
I'm going to be real with you, too. If you want to RP as an older Japanese gentleman treating himself to a nice warm sake, an old reliable, but one which was developed with a balance of tradition and innovation, this is a really perfect--classic, almost nostalgic--choice. Honjozo was the first kimoto sake Daishichi released in 1982, and it was an overnight success, coming to define the brand over the next 40 years. Salarymen from the 80's know Daishichi and surely think of it fondly. A box and branding like that? Timeless.
This sake will stay delicious open in the fridge for at least a month.
Recommended serving temperature: lightly chilled to medium warm (~120F)
Yeast: proprietary (house yeast)
Fermentation starter: kimoto
Aging: 1-2 years at the brewery, and collectors are encouraged to age further at home if they so choose. This sake does improve with time in bottle.
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).
Daishichi Sake Brewery Co. Ltd.
Location: Nihonmatsu, Fukushima (inland)
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 without question 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.