The Naraman Muroka Bin Hiire Junmai ($29.99 for 720ml) is from the Tohoku region of the Fukushima Prefecture. This area often has cold and snowy winters that make excellent weather for Saké brewing. Though it is listed as a Junmai, meaning the rice must be polished to at least 70%, the rice was actually polished to 55%. That means it could have qualified as a Ginjo but the brewery chose not to categorize it as such. The rice variety used was Gohyakumangoku and it also has an alcohol content of 16-17%. It also has a Saké Meter Value of +4, which means it is a drier Saké.
In addition, this is a "Muroka" Saké which means that it was unfiltered. Usually, Saké is filtered through carbon to remove potential contaminants that could adversely affect the smell and flavor. But, sometimes this process can remove good smells and flavors too. Muroka Saké potentially has a wider ranger of smells and flavors though it must be finely crafted or it could be ruined by contaminants.
The aroma of this Saké intrigued me with lush fruit flavors of peach and melon. But those flavors were very much in the background when I tasted it. The most prominent flavor was more a steamed rice, earthiness. It had a full body and was very smooth on the palate. When I concentrated more on the Saké, I could detect hints of other flavors, a subtle melange of complexity. Overall, a very pleasing Saké though probably not one for someone new to Saké. I think this would be a good Saké for food as well, as it is a bit rich and could stand up to many different dishes. At $30, I consider this a good value and recommend it as a Drink & Buy.
Now which Saké should I drink next?