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August: The Return of Souls

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


 I would like to introduce a last minute summer sake that I feel is worth mentioning. The first is, as the title says " Tsurushi." The title has no association with the literal meaning associated with a 17th century torture technique the Japanese used on Christians to get them to recant their faith.  Other meanings that can loosely be associated with this sake's title have no specific meaning, other than one technique used to separate sake lees which I haven't confirmed yet. Quite often sake labels have little association to the meaning of the sake, or why it was named, unless it's the name of the brewery, or some exotic bird or something like that.

The way it is stocked on store shelves is with cardboard wrapped around it. I assume it's to reduce light exposure on the sake. There're other breweries that do similar things with their sake as well, but instead with different colored bottles. The whole idea is to preserve the sake's natural state and to help it sleep better. Too much ultra violet light may have a negative effect on the finished product.

It's more economically feasible to purchase the large 1800ml than the 750 ml. The reason being is that you need time to drink and appreciate the nihonshu, so rather then paying 1200 to 2000 yen for a 750ml bottle, for just a few hundred more yen you can get the largest size which pours better for guests.

Tsurushi is a Junmai Muroka(unfiltered) that's been polished at 60% using a premium sake rice called Go-hyaku-mon-goku(Aizu Grown). Unfiltered premium class sake are known for having nice full on taste. I prefer unfiltered types personally.

Where this sake hails from is Aizu Wakumatsu, a city located in the Tohoku region in a prefecture called Fukushima, a region of Japan steeped in thousands of years of history. The president of the brewery that makes this sake is quite young from what I hear, under 30, which kind of reminds me of Aizu City's history and its most famous legend of Byakkotai, where a cadre of 305 young teenage boys, samurai, who fought valiantly in the Boshin War, 19 of which who committed ritual suicidal.

The reason why I make a lot of historical references when I'm drinking sake is because just drinking sake for the sake of drinking sake is an unfair drinking experience for the drinker or drink(ee). You need to add other elements to that sake drinking experience. Some people enjoy drinking sake with friends, which for them enhances the sake drinking experience, while others like myself enjoy with just one special person or a landscape, some lore, and merriment.

I get lots of flavors swirling around in my mouth when I taste this. It's a little hard to latch on to one distinctive flavor profile. It's soft and straightforward and very pleasant to drink. The brewer is called Takahashi Brewery.

Final notes:

Clean, straightforward, refreshing. I do recommend trying it as a starter to something very light tasting, or as it is is fine.

While writing this, I was listening to "Karaoke (feat. DJ Khaled)" by T-Pain


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