Senkin Modern vs Classic Muku Yamadanishiki: 300ml Comparison Set
Senkin Modern vs Classic Muku Yamadanishiki: 300ml Comparison Set
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Senkin Modern vs Classic Muku Yamadanishiki: 300ml Comparison Set

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Senkin Shuzo, located in Tochigi prefecture, is at the forefront of innovation in modern sake brewing and one of the most committed practitioners of "domaine" brewing. Domaine brewing draws inspiration from the concept of domaine estates in wine: producers that grow their own grapes. In domaine brewing, sake producers endeavor to craft sake that uses only hyper-local ingredients to brew a sake that is unique to, and can only be made in, that specific place. It is distinct from the jizake (local sake) movement of the mid 90s in that it emphasizes the concepts of terroir, traceability, and minimal intervention, which are shared by wine. 

For the Modern/Classic series, Senkin keeps most variables consistent: same local rice (farmed within 5 minutes of the brewery, farmed with the same water as brewing), same water, same polishing, same yeast, same pasteurization, and very similar final chemistry values (high acidity, a little sweet, moderate amino acids). The two products differ in their use of modern techniques and equipment versus traditional techniques and equipment, as well as final alcohol percentage. These comparison products, Modern vs Classic, are brewed with Yamadanishiki rice, Omachi, and Kamenoo. 

Sunflower's comparison set is made with Yamadanishiki: the flagship of the series, also called Muku. Muku translates to pure or innocent, referring to a lack of embellishment in the sake. Senkin touts Muku as their daily drinker: one that fits as comfortably as a clean white t-shirt, and pairs with everything. 

This comparison set was featured in the Modern & Classic Sake illustrated comic, and is an excellent way to learn more about Senkin Shuzo as well as the (fascinating yet elusive) differences between modern and traditional brewing. 

Tasting notes

Modern: This is the 'crisp white T shirt' of the series, and it really does feel that way. Clean, dry and light but with a nice, luxurious weight on the palate, like a fine linen or featherweight down blanket. Lots of can't-put-my-finger-on-it floral notes. Strawberry yoplait yogurt, blossoms, fresh mochi, kumquat, banana slices, avocado mousse & rice crispies. Acidity is delicate, while the texture is festive & spritzy. As it warms from the fridge the aroma fills a wine glass, but is never overwhelming.

Classic: More acidity, flavor, texture than Modern. A little less aroma. A little bit deeper color as well. Sitting on the palate, it is still clean and soft, but the acidity and texture make it a bit more interesting and interactive with food. The finish hints at macadamia nut, fresh cream and white chocolate. Grain notes are more prominent, with fresh pear, early strawberry and blossom floating around in the background.   


 Modern Classic
Grade Junmai Daiginjo Muroka Genshu Junmai Daiginjo Muroka Genshu
Rice Yamadanishiki  Yamadanishiki 
Polishing 40% / 50% (koji/kakemai) 40% / 50% (koji/kakemai)
Yeast House (Tochigi variant) House (Tochigi variant)
Pasteurizing Namazume Namazume
Starter (shubo) Sokujo Kimoto
Fermentation vessel Stainless Kioke
Temperature control Strict Variable
ABV 16% 15%
SMV -2 -2
Acidity 2.2 2.2


Brewery background:

Nestled in the residential backroads of Sakura city, Tochigi Prefecture, Senkin Brewery is now run by 11th generation brothers Kazuki Usui (Brewer) and Masato Usui (Toji), who work together as brewer and toji (respectively. “Senkin” has a dual meaning of “crane” and “a legendary wizard that lives in the mountains and is capable of performing miracles”. Senkin's jizake are brighter and juicier than other sake; their focus is principally on deviating from the norm with elements of higher acidity and residual sugar levels (around -2.0). As their brewing motto is “Yokei na koto shinai” (do nothing unnecessary), all of their sake are brewed in small batches, are Muroka (unfiltered), Genshu (undiluted), and Nama or Namazume, as well as bottle aged in near-freezing temperatures. Applying the same concept as a Domaine or Estate, Senkin uses the same water for brewing as that which grows their rice, and they will only use contract-farmed Omachi, Yamada Nishiki, or Kameno O rice grown within 5 minutes of the brewery. They proudly implement both modern and traditional brewing methods across their various sake series.