I can only stare at the picture of the Saké above, dreaming about what it might taste like. I will probably never get to taste it, and even if it were available for purchase, I probably would never buy it. This intriguing Saké costs around $750 for a bottle! That is far out of my budget.
The Naniwa Isake 19 Junmai Daiginjo is produced by the Naniwa Sake Brewery, which is located in the Osaka prefecture. The brewery has been around for about two and a half centuries and their Toji, Katsuro Sato, has an excellent reputation and approximately 45 years of experience. The brewery uses water from the Izumi mountains, considered to be extremely pure. This particular Saké is very special, and may be one of a kind.
Sake is commonly differentiated by its “seimai buai,” the percentage of the rice that remains after polishing. The smaller the percentage, generally the higher the quality or grade of the Saké. The highest grade of Saké is Daiginjo and to qualify, a Saké requires a seimai buai of 50% or lower. The Isake 19 though has a seimai buai of 19%, which may be the lowest of any available Saké. It is very difficult to remove so much of the rice, though modern technology has enhanced the capabilities of breweries to polish rice.
Why is that important? At the center of a rice kernel are the dense starches while the outer layers have more fatty acids, proteins and other impurities. The more of the outer layers that can be removed, should enhance the quality of the Saké, allowing for a greater percentage of the starches.
The Isake 19 is also made from the famous Yamadanishiki rice, considered by many to be the best Saké rice. It has an alcohol content of 16.9% and a Sake meter value of +5, making it more on the dry side. This Saké is available in the United Kingdom, but may not yet be available in the U.S. In the UK, it sells for 475 pounds for a 720ml bottle, which would be about $750 US.
What does it taste like? I'll have to wait to read reviews from others. But it could be an amazing Saké!
Please also check out this video about the Isake 19.