Kinmon Akita Junmai Genshu "Amairo X3"

Kinmon Akita Junmai Genshu "Amairo X3"

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X3 is a testament to the power of koji, as well as the skill of the brewers and blenders at Kinmon Akita-- a tiny, specialist brewery in far NW Japan. The "X3" is so named because it's brewed with 3x the amount of koji ordinarily used in sake: likely between 60-75%. I have a few high koji brews on my shelves, but this has to be one of the most elegant: texturally refined, syrupy umami, aged at the brewery for complexity, subtle sweetness, and moderate alcohol (15%) despite being genshu (undiluted).
Compared to Kinmon Akita Shiroyamabuki Assemblage, X3 has more intensity overall: sweeter, richer texture, higher acidity, fuller flavor and more pronounced aged notes. It's worth noting that this sake is suited to further aging and will continue to improve for several decades if stored properly. But the 8 years already spent at the brewery offer a fabulous head start-- it's certainly ready to enjoy now.

The aroma is sweet and savory with notes of miso, honeyed tea, simmering mushrooms, mead, and baked apple-- very autumnal and comforting. The palate delivers a heavy punch of spice, crispy roasting pan fond, roasted carrot and sweet potato, maple-soy glaze, Fall leaves, molasses, fermented honey, pecans, cocoa powder... I could go on and on! This is a full body, high intensity, higher than average acidity beast with a long finish and incredible complexity. 

Pairing and Service:
An umami bomb like this can stand up to the most flavorful foods and has an uncanny ability to pinpoint, highlight and amplify the best components of a dish. I often tell guests that one of my favorite pairings of all time was Kinmon Akita X3 (served at room temperature in wine glasses) with the final 3 savory courses of the Homage to Grandma tasting menu at KinKan in Los Angeles. Kinkan is a small, fine dining  restaurant which uses Japanese techniques with Thai flavors. The X3 stood up to a combination of richly spiced, funky, fish head curry served alongside sweet prawns as well as seared wagyu with chili, lime and nam pla. All the spices in the curry came into focus, while the sweetness of the prawns sang out loud; 
  • Size: 720ml
  • Rice: Menkoina 
  • Seimaibuai (polishing level): 65% (koji) and 70% (kakemai)
  • Yeast: 7 
  • Fermentation Starter: no data given
  • Alcohol 15%
  • Grade: junmai genshu koshu

Similar to:
Ichinokura Jukuseishu Junmai Koshu
Kinmon Akita X3
Nanbu Bijin All Koji
Tamagawa Time Machine
Hanahato Gorgeous Bird Kijoshu

A relatively young brewery, Kinmon Akita Sake Brewing Co. was founded in its current form in 1973 when a local brewery (Akita Fuji Sake Brewery, est 1936) received an investment from a wholesaler to rebrand and reopen. The more interesting story takes place roughly 30 years ago however, when Kinmon Akita became uniquely committed to aged sake (koshu) as well as high koji content styles, believing that this is the height of sake's craft.
Innovation and the spirit of pioneering are the hallmark of this boutique brewery in Akita, which has innovated new manufacturing methods for sake, drawing on ancient tradition as well as techniques from winemaking. After a long period of experimentation in a market with very, very little koshu, Kinmon Akita finally broke onto the International stage when the 10-year aged Yamabuki (10 year old sake base, blended with others up to 20 years old) won the prestigious IWC Trophy.