Ask Beau - "Harushika Aged Nama - How did you get that?" | True Sake
March 2010

Ask Beau - "Harushika Aged Nama - How did you get that?"

Posted by Beau Timken in 2010, Ask Beau, March, Newsletter
Beau This question came to me not in email form but voiced at True Sake, and I thought that it would make a good question. I wrote a piece about "Exclusive Sakes" way back when and this question dovetails off of that - I think! In essence, I once took pride in identifying sakes in Japan that I would then offer "exclusively" at True Sake. I thought this was cool, but really it wasn't because at the end of the day I want my importers and especially my brewers to make more money. So I shied away from Exclusive Sakes and asked those concerned to allow everybody to sell the sakes that I had identified.

But, because of the nature of the beast sometimes there is such a limited quantity available that the importer only wants True Sake to carry a brew that I "found." It happens on occasion, and it just happened again.

Several years back I was a judge for the US National Sake Appraisals in Hawaii. I tasted a ton of brews that week and one certain sake stuck with me. Amongst a thousand great sakes, one just stood out amongst the pack. This usually happens at my tasting/judging gigs like that, but this time I did something about it. I went to the importer and said "Man you have a great sake within your realm, and I would love to sell it at True Sake." He then procured several sample bottles of the sake and we were off to the races. When we tasted the sake together it was a little different than the effort that I judged, but was still very outstanding. (The label was different also, but we were told by the brewery that it was the same Junmai Ginjo Genshu). I will be honest and say that I enjoyed the "version" from Hawaii a little more - it had more body and presence.

Fast forward to last week when we were told that the sake had arrived and was on the docks. We were going to get the sake in a couple of days! I was stoked. On the day that it arrived the surprises began. First the sake had a different label (third version!). It then had a special added insignia for the International Wine Challenge (another event that I have been a judge for and will be again this May) on the side of the label. Huh? What's going on here? Then - there it was - the kanji for Nama sake. It was nama? Double huh? The previous versions had not been nama (Unpasteurized). But wait! It didn't stop there! Also on the label was the fact this particular nama had been cold aged for 210 days! Triple huh? AWESOME! I LOVE IT! I was so stoked to read this, and called the importer immediately and he was flabbergasted! "Huh?" He said he would call the brewery immediately - he did and they did! They sent my brew in a very special and unique form! Soooooooo Cool!

Now let me perfectly frank! (I always am when it comes to sake!) I think this brew is beyond the realm for this brewery! Meaning I never expected that they could produce such a powerhouse sake. Harushika is a great sake brewery, and I love their efforts. We sell a lot of their sake - very proudly! But this baby is the cream of the crop! Over the top - just simply superb sake. At the moment we have their Spring release Junmai Ginjo nama at the store to go hand in hand with their extremely popular Junmai Daiginjo and of course their ultra popular sparking sake called Tokimeki.

Now here's the rub! We only have five cases and when these babies are gone - they are gone! (I may even be a big pig and may buy a case for myself - may want to age a couple even longer to see what happens.) So if you want to taste a truly unique and impressive sake get on this immediately! Herewith are my notes on this spectacular sake:

Harushika "Spring Deer"

From Nara Prefecture. Nama Junmai Ginjo Genshu (Aged Nama).
SMV: -5 Acidity: 2.0 Yeast: Harushika #6

The aroma profile on this "aged unpasteurized" sake that is EXCLUSIVE to True Sake is flush with ripe fruit tones such as strawberry, mango, grape, and floral elements. Okay folks! This is the round, soft, super smooth fruit bomb sake that you have been looking for. A truly unique brew that is so velvety and ripe with explosive fruity flavors such as strawberry and honeydew that you would think it needs a huge acidity push - but none exists. Soft ripe fruit on a honey flavored gooey fluid. Fat, smooth and friendly - so drinkable with so much personality perhaps it is the 210 days of aging for this raw sake. Crazy! and 17% alc to boot!

WORD: Juicy
WINE: Ripe reds/ bright whites
BEER: Sweet Belgian Ales
FOODS: Spicy and savory fare, American sushi, cheese and fruit dishes.
$45/720ml


Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All other correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)

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