Beau-Zone Layer – Tsukinokatsura “Iwai”
Kyoto Prefecture, Junmai
The ultimate point of the “Beau-Zone Layer” is to get you to think. It’s to get you to see sake in another light and appreciate it for yet another reason. “Iwai” is not only a different light, it's also a different beast altogether. Pound for pound, Iwai sake brewing rice is probably the most expensive of all brewing rice varietals, and it’s pretty much grown only in Kyoto Prefecture. The thinking part of this brew is the milling rate of 80%, which is weird because usually for premium rice varietals, you want to polish as much away of each grain as possible – think Yamadanishiki milled to 23 or 8 or even 0.9 percent. Yes, it’s insane. But Tsukinokatsura goes the opposite way and only mills this expensive rice to 80%. Why? So you can taste the rice and not just the premium starch. The result is rich, round, and smooth sake that drinks you as much as you drink it! If you like smooth sake, then this is your velvety brew. It’s great at three temperatures and has all kinds of food pairing applications especially meats, game, fowl, and oily rich fish like bonito. Think 80.