Kinokuniya Bunzaemon Junmai
Please note, this product is not available for shipping. It is available for free pick-up or delivery in Portland, OR. Kinokuniya's Junmai is sturdy and mild...
Please note, this product is not available for shipping. It is available for free pick-up or delivery in Portland, OR.
Kinokuniya's Junmai is sturdy and mildly savory with juicy acidity. It brings notes of toasted rice along with creme brulee, banana cream, strawberry, and a slight earthiness that reminds me of decaying Autumn leaves. Although it doesn't say so on the bottle, and I can't find any information to confirm this, I'm fairly certain this is a Kimoto-method sake. The acidity and subdued funk state it clearly. I'd also wager that it is non-charcoal filtered, given the warm straw hue of the sake in the glass. This sake uses Yamada Nishiki to make it's Koji rice and Dewasanzan for the rest of the rice in the brew.
You might have noticed the brewery's name: Nakano Biochemical Creation. This is quite a distinctly Japanese situation. The brewery does in fact operate as a biochemical food processor, while also brewing stellar sake. Their website shows images of labcoat clad scientists analyzing beakers, undoubtedly making plum powders and extracts, alongside pictures of the sake brewers hard at work in a modern facility making sake using some of the oldest and most difficult methods out there (Kimoto method). I'd like to say that the juxtaposition is comical but by the quality of this sake, it's clear that the company and their master brewer truly have something to be proud of. It's evident that the executives of Nakano Biochemical Creation have employed a skilled and visionary brewmaster, and left him alone with state-of-the-art equipment to pursue his unfettered vision of quality sake. If anything, the industrial setting that this sake emerges from is simply a factor in this level of quality being available for such a low price. (Fans of Dassai, Hakutsuru, and Hakushika may know what I'm talking about here.)
Kinokuniya's sakes are, to my knowledge, new to the United States as of November 2020. I'm glad they are here. For their relatively low prices, they are some of the most expressive, juicy, and smartly balanced sake that I've recently had.
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