The other side of Moriki Shuzo, Hanabusa (and Rie Style, available in Japan only), is drastically different from the brewery's more famous 90% brew, Tae no Hana. Hanabusa is less assertive and wild than Tae no Hana, but it shares the brewery's philosophy of using local organic rice, ambient organisms, and pursuing a beautiful, complex style representative of place.
I always bring sake home with me when I visit Japan, and there are a few brands I seek out in particular. Hanabusa is one of these. It expresses the rare, "elegant" side of ambient fermentations in sake: subtlety, softness, and verve, the volume of each element moderate and in beautiful harmony. Acidity isn't off the charts here, but it is crisp, clear and in focus. This is a transparent, sincere brew with clear flavors of rice, nutmeg, and white pepper, the fleshy juiciness of a good blueberry. The mouthfeel is round and soft, finishing with a finely etched texture, like the softest tannins in old Nebbiolo.
The pride of Mie and women in sake everywhere!
- Prefecture: Mie
- Rice: Yamadanishiki (estate grown organic)
- Polishing: 70%
- Grade: Junmai Kimoto Muroka Nama Genshu
- Yeast: ambient
- Starter: Yamahai
- Acidity: 2
- SMV: +7 (dry)
- Vintage: 2023
Known since ancient times as the land of the ninja, Iga is also the town that is home to Moriki Shuzo in the prefecture of Mie. Rumiko Moriki is the 4th generation of her family to own the brewery, and along with her husband Hideki, they are not only the Kuramoto (owners) of this tiny brewery, they also are the Toji (master brewers). Rumiko’s fame is in being the first female Toji/Kuramoto in Japan, achieving that distinction in 1998. She has inspired a generation of female sake enthusiasts and there is even popular series of manga (illustrated novels) written about her life as a brewer. Her daughter Rie recently succeeded Rumiko as toji, carrying on the brewery's unique house style and innovating in her "Rie Style" label. This next generation is a reassuring reflection of the uncommon talent and creativity characteristic of Moriki Shuzo.
Nearly all work in the Moriki Shuzo is done laboriously by hand, including the growing of their own rice using organic methods. Much of the sake made by Moriki is Kimoto or Yamahai style and utilizes ambient natural yeasts.