Kuro Kabuto Junmai Daiginjo "Black Helmet"

Kuro Kabuto Junmai Daiginjo "Black Helmet"

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 A rare treat for the adventurous, Kuro Kabuto Muroka Junmai Daiginjo is brewed using 100% Black Koji (Kurokoji) instead of the usual Yellow Koji (Kikoji), contributing to a very unique and interesting flavor profile. The brewers forego the usual carbon filtration, allowing the natural texture and full body created by black koji to remain unadulterated, and send it straight to bottling for cold storage.

While the nose is mellow, with pretty notes of fuji apple, honeysuckle and sweet brown rice, the flavor is powerful! Full-boded, like a sip of sweet cream, with notes of sweet rice, soft anjou pear, honey-lemon tea and fuzzy peach skin. The finish isn't cloying whatsoever, tasting clean, fruity, ricey and charming.

This big-boned sake is a delight with equally flavorful, slightly sweet foods like General Tso's Chicken or orange chicken, teriyaki, okonomiyaki, tonkotsu or croquette with tonkotsu sauce, or equally, any dish drizzled with balsamic or BBQ sauce.

Stats:

  • Location: Fukuoka
  • Producer:  Ikekame Shuzo
  • Rice: Yamada Nishiki
  • Polishing: 50%
  • Classification: Junmai Daiginjo
  • Yeast: Proprietary
  • SMV: -2
  • Acidity: 2.0
  • ABV: 15%

Background:

Ikekame Shuzo was stablished by sword master Genzo, a forward-thinking early entrepreneur,  in Meiji Year 8  (1875) on the banks of the Chikugo River, whose water is soft, pure, and well-suited to sake production. 

While watching a Sake Day 2020 seminar led by Brooklyn Kura, I learned more about how Ikekame tamed the kuro koji for this elegant junmai daiginjo. The key is tremendous skill and precise execution:

"When you try to hold back the acidity on an aspergillus Kawachii fermentation, there is a chance the enzyme balance will collapse and fermentation won't progress smoothly. Precise control of the moisture, humidity, and temp is even more essential with black koji than it is with the standard yellow koji."