Sake Summary - Ichishima Tasting at TS | True Sake
March 2010

Sake Summary - Ichishima Tasting at TS

Posted by Beau Timken in 2010, March, Newsletter
Ichishima Tasting On the night of February 25th we held a very small private sake tasting for Kenji Ichishima who is the owner of Ichishima brewery in Niigata. We did so for several reasons, but the best that I can offer is that it was pay back for Kenji always looking out for me when I attend my Sake Samurai events. Although younger than me, he has always helped me from day one, and for that I am grateful. In this regard, Miwa and I invited him to "our version of a sake tasting."

First let me point out that of all the sakes imported into the US, I believe that the Ichishima brand has the largest selections of sakes from one kura and the result is that hosting a tasting is easy because it is so vertical! The sakes that we placed out were the Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, Ginjo Koshu, Junmai, Junmai Genshu, Honjozo, and the Futsu-shu. Kenji also offers several other brews from this portfolio including competition Daiginjo's and lower alcohol fruitier Junmai. That said he also has another importing and distribution channel with several other sakes, which we carry.

But why in the world just taste seven sakes when we can play games? So we decided to make it a blind tasting! But more than that we made it a blind tasting that focused on "perceived value" as we had the tasters pick their favorite brews and their perceived notion of the most and least expensive sakes. And I must admit that the tasters did a remarkable job! Three of the more talked about sakes were the Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, and the Ginjo Koshu. Most tasters agreed that the Daiginjo drank on the expensive side and that the Futsu-shu drank on the least expensive side. Pretty interesting!

So who were the "tasters" and how did they get to taste for free? Well let's just call them partners in our quest to understand sake. These folks are veterans of our sake tastings and have grown into stellar sake sleuths over the years. And again we are fortunate to have them as customers. Thus we handpicked them to attend the event and represent the Bay Area. If you are interested in becoming a person on our radar then attend some tastings and tell us at the store that you are interested.

I am pretty good at telling when an owner of brewery is just at an event nodding and sort of taking things in. This was not the case with Kenji Ichishima. I think that he totally got into the unique angle of the tasting and was pretty blown away by our questions throughout the evening. Again, I think that the peeps represented very well! Thank you!

We currently have the Honjozo in stock if you would like to try. We also have carried the Junmai Ginjo in the past and may do so again. I would be interested in fleshing out the Koshu for our portfolio and we carry his lower-alcohol Junmai called Karen Coy. But if you would like to try any and all of these sakes please let us know and we will obtain for you!

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