The very best sake are kaleidoscopic, changing every moment, every day, showing something different to each person. They're Jackson Pollock'd with vivid, immersive splashes of color, and all negative space is filled with filigreed details for those who dare to look.
Takacho Regal Hawk is one such sake and what it says to me, it may not say to you. I remember once writing a flurry of diverse notes only to have a close friend tell me she was seeing powerful flavors of almost-overripe cantaloupe...and then for the rest of the evening, I could see nothing else.
Flavors and aromas are immense, with cultured lactic acid leading at first-- like the whey atop good yogurt, tangerine water kefir, creme fraiche, or mascarpone. It melts into cajeta, mashed brown sugar yams, masa harina. Those sorts of umami-like, but sweet, earthy notes. I get funky flowers too-- plumeria and rose after theyve been in the vase for a few days. On the palate, wild and crazy sweet-savory flavors take center stage: z ucchini bread, overripe cantaloupe, maple syrup, white soy, oloroso sherry, marzipan candies, sultanas, toasted buckwheat, fermented honey.... you know, one of those poetic sake. The vino di meditazione sake. It stays great in the fridge and keeps evolving, so really don't feel like you need to down it all in one night.
Pairings could involve any one of the above notes, but I last had it at yakitori night, and it was phenomenal with the starters (sake kasu-cured cream cheese, tofu misozuke, all sorts of funky and powerful pickled veggies) as well as the tsukune: grilled, glazed chicken meatballs. Anything fermented, it will reflect and amplify-- anything umami-rich, it will bring new dimension. A truly dynamic and phenomenal sake.
Fermentation Starter: Bodaimoto (the funkiest, most badass, and most ancient of all)
Yeast: cultivated ambient from Shinryaku-ji temple in Nara
Other: Genshu (undiluted), muroka (unfined)
Yucho Shuzo, Nara Prefecture