Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tsukasabotan Senchu Hassaku Tokebetsu Junmai

In honor of Saké Day, I opened a bottle of Saké last evening that I recently bought at Sakaya in New York City, a recommendation of Rick, one of the store owners.

The Tsukasabotan Senchu Hassaku Tokebetsu Junmai ($43.99 for 720ml) is from the Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. I recently had another Saké from this brewery, the Tsukasabotan Fu-in Junmai Ginjo which I thought was excellent so I also had high hopes for this one. The label leaps out at you with its fluorescent orange characters.

"Senchu Hassaku" translates as 'Eight principles, written onboard a ship." It refers to an important document that was signed on a ship off the coast of Shikoku. The document was drafted by Sakamoto Ryoma, a samurai activist from Kochi, and it played a significant role in the overthrow of the Shogunate, and the reinstatment of the Emperor, at the time of the Meiji Restoration.

The rice, Yamadanishiki, for this Saké was polished to 57% and it has an alcohol content of 15.6%. It also has a Saké Meter Value of +8, which means it is dry. Kochi Saké tends to be very dry. I found its aroma to be very mild, just hints of some fruit flavors. On my palate, it had a full-bodied creamy taste with a touch of sweetness and a subtle flavor of banana. In some respects, I did get a sense of a liquid marshmallow, though without most of the sugar. This Saké was dry but not so bone-dry that it felt like dust in your mouth. It had a very pleasing flavor and a moderate finish. It is a smooth, easy drinking Saké that should appeal even to newcomers to Saké. This is also a Saké that I think can stand up to some stronger foods.

Another hit from this brewery and a Saké that I would recommend to everyone. It does have a bit of a more unique texture and mouthfeel than some other Sakés. It may be a bit pricey for those new to Saké, but I think it will give you an excellent idea of what quality Saké tastes like and hopefully convert you to enjoying Saké.

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