This is the sake I bought at a discount when I visited a Japanese supermarket a few days ago. The discounted price is inexpensive and close to the original price in Japan. I seldom write a specific bottle of wine alone, so I do a little homework to see how amazing this sake Kakunko (花薰光) is to impress well-informed @酒池Raw林(editor note: Writer’s friend, an all-round alcohol beverages lover) so much.
Sake brewery – Sudo Honke
Many well-known sake breweries in Japan have a long history, and Sudo Honke is one of the oldest. Since it was recorded in history in the first year of Eiji (This period spanned the year from July 1141 through April 1142.), more than 800 years of history have passed. The present president is the 55th generation descendant – Yoshiyasu Sudo. He made an amazing decision to replace the entire line of products with unfiltered and unpasteurized genshu.
Unfiltered and unpasteurized genshu is not sterilized by high temperature. All of Sudo Honke sake are not filtered (carbonated) nor used any unnatural filtration techniques in order to keep the natural balance of flavor. It is a very bold decision. Cold-chain transportation is required throughout the whole supply chain, and the storage condition requirement and shelf-life management are also becoming more challenging.
Junmai Daiginjo – Kakunko
The flagship sake of Sudo Honke, Kakunko has always been loved by world-wide liquor lovers. It was used as a liquor for the Ise-Shima Summit working dinner hosted by Mrs. Akie Abe. Sudo Honke recorded its honour in a booklet and placed it in the wine box.
Generally, it is better to consume namazake in the shortest time, as well as Kakunko. However, there was an incredible record. In 2005, the brewery accidentally discovered a batch of Kakunko genshu which was brewed in 1993. After 12 years of aging, it sold out quickly in Japan at a high price of 210,000 yen each. And it was once fetched to US$13,000 in overseas markets.
After realizing that Kakunko has a very high aging value, the brewery has offered limited sale of Kakunko vintage aged sake afterward. Even knowing they are priceless, why is it discounting when I bought it?
It is because of the matter of cold-chain transportation and instability. Unlike the above-mentioned standardized aging environment in the sake brewery, those bottled sake is quite fragile, especially the unpasteurized namazake, which its flavor can be stifled easily.
In places like Japan Centre, if they can’t ensure to use cold chain management throughout the whole supply chain, it will be fatal to namazake. In the article I read before, it is mentioned that the quality of Kakunko should comparatively better than drip-pressed genshu in the current year. Likewise, should perform better than a year aged one.
(Disclaimer: The author has given consent to Sakeholic for re-posting and translating, the original passage can be found on the author’s Weibo. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the website and its company.)