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August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Raifuku: らいふく

When I think of summer in Japan this post comes to mind.  I enjoy sake from  all seasons in Japan, so without further ado allow me to introduce another summer sake.  The name as the title says, Raifuku.  The title has no association to anything in particular, but one thing that caught my eye is the yeast that was used.
Many people in North America associate this perennial flower Hydrangea with summer, much like Japanese do in their own country.  Hydrangeas are beautiful flowers as you can see here.  Some people have been known to use this shrub for medicinal purposes, but for sake?   Yes....!

Hydrangeas were used as a flower yeast to brew this sake.   The aromas you catch on this sake are just beautiful.  Summer...When you sniff it you smell summer, actually, you smell the sweet nape of a  40ish year old Japanese woman.  I can almost see the black devil handed swoop of Watanabe Toyoshige's famous "oni" paintings rise up, fingers and hands clutching and shaking from that dark abyss.  Scaling that  wall of forever, and struggling to reach to the top, blood tainted fingers and nails, black and red, with arthritic middle and forefingers, not white and compliant and overly obsequious.

It's a Junmai Ginjo, which puts it in the premium class of sake.  Junmai type sake are all rice only.  I love the refined rice flavor of Japanese nihonshu.  It is the best for me.  But,  did I just drink sake only?  No.  Look down. (small hickory chip at the top left).
How did I cook this Camembert cheese?
I used a blend of two different types of wood.  Hickory smoke chips and sakura wood chips!  I soaked them in water for 30 minutes, drained them, and then packed them in aluminum foil, making sure to stick a hot brisket in the middle to enhance the smokiness and heat.  I slow cooked everything for four hours!  The cheese just ...god...just melted in my mouth and full of nice hickory and cherry blossom smokiness.  My second day in a row smoking camembert cheese and fresh water and salmon fish.  I am hooked, plus this delicious ice cold summer sake, max chilled(sigh).

Seimaibui 50% nihonshu do + 4 acid 1.4 alc. 15 %.  Clean and a bit dry.  I really love how clean the finish is on this nihonshu.  Really.  It leaves behind  faint aromas of its existence in your mouth.  Some "nihonshu-do" is not always an accurate indication of sweetness to dryness.  In this case, I feel this is a sweet, dry and refreshing drink.  If summer had a flavor then this would be it, I think.  Love Japanese nihonshu.  It is the national drink of Japan. 

Long live Heisei!


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