This Fall is the first time Kisoji has made it to Portland, and we're so happy to see them. This sake has some of my favorite tasting notes typical of yamahai: cheesecake, banana bread, carrot cake...really anything with tangy cream cheese frosting. Lyle's golden syrup, nutmeg, and dried peach and banana really rounds out the flavor profile for me. A classic expression of Fall with a tangy, lactic twist. In fact, the lactic tang makes the sake a bit leaner on the palate than you might imagine based on the flavor descriptors-- thus, it's still quite good chilled and served in a wine glass.
It's so hard to say which hiyaoroshi is my favorite in 2021 because they're all so damn good, but Kisoji is definitely up there. And the label-- gorgeous! Like looking at the a clear starry night sky in mountainous Nagano, the "roof of Japan."
Heated to 115, this sake gains some interesting herbal elements, like forest floor, wet ferns, and the fruit goes to baked apple, raisins, and poached pear rather than cakey expressions. It's quite a bit drier and even salty when I bring it up to 140F. I recommend anywhere from lightly chilled to hot, but room temperature and lightly warmed were my favorites.
Enjoy with any Fall meal, but especially roasted root vegetables with sour cream.
- Nagano prefecture
- Local Nagano Hitogokochi rice
- Seimaibuai (rice polishing ratio): 70%
- Brewing starter: Yamahai
- Yeast: unknown
- Ambient temperature aging over the summer for hiyaoroshi namazume style
- Husband and wife kuramoto-toji team
- One of the two highest breweries in Japan at almost 3000 ft elevation, regularly experiencing winter (brewing season) temperatures below zero!
Yukawa Shuzo, home to Kisoji brand, was founded in 1650 and is one of the highest elevation breweries in Japan, located in Nagano within the Japan Alps at nearly 3000 ft. The brewery is managed by a wife and husband team and is focused on using local rice and creating for a local audience.