Kijoshu is made by incorporating sake instead of water during the last step of fermentation, lending a sweeter, richer, and more concentrated flavor: a sake squared, if you will. What Masuizumi has made is a rare Kijoshu-style aged sake (koshu) which has been matured in oak barrels giving it more complexity and depth than regular Kijoshu. On the nose, there are aromas of oak, honey, black pepper, and butterscotch. This full-bodied sake is smooth and rounded with notes of cinnamon, toffee, and the nuances of honey are enhanced by the barrel aging. Delicious as is or use in lieu of spirits for a Kijoshu Old Fashioned with orange peel and bitters. Since this sake is stored and aged in oak barrels, there may be some sediment from the barrel. The base of this release dates from 2014-2015.
This is a multi award winning sake which has taken home IWC Gold for Koshu more than 4 times, most recently in 2021 and 2022.
Recommended pairing: Mimolette cheese, blue cheese, Chinese particularly dim sum & char siu, foie gras (esp. pickled in sake lees), mildly sweet desserts. Treat it like much less boozy cognac.
- Brewery: Masuda Shuzo
- Location: Toyama, Japan
- Grade: Legally none, due to the oak aging. If legal, this would be considered a Kijoshu Junmai.
- Rice: undisclosed
- Yeast: undisclosed
- Polishing: undisclosed
- Oak: Mizunara, medium toast
- ABV: 14-15%
- Service temperature: Any, but particularly room temp & light chill.
Tasting notes from the IWC website:
A very expressive nose of black cherry, orange peel, figs and dates. Vanilla oak notes with muscavado sugar, caramel, and butterscotch. Uplifting long finish. Silky with balanced umami and a long, elevated finish.
The storehouse is located in the middle of the townhouses and restaurants of the shipping wholesaler that once prospered in the trade of Kitamaebune.Toyama Prefecture is sandwiched between the Sea of Japan and the Tateyama mountain range, and is blessed with seasonal seafood such as firefly squid, white shrimp, yellowtail, yellowtail crab and yellowtail in Toyama Bay, and mountain vegetables such as wild vegetables in early spring. Yes, Manju Izumi says, "It is a sake that is grown with delicious ingredients and complements any dish."