Sake is our alcohol of choice. The endless fruit flavours of chu hai make it one of our favourites, but sake seems to have the most agreeable effect when compared to beer, wine and chu hai. And by agreeable, I mean the least effect on us, because we do not find the disorienting euphoria when tipsy or drunk enjoyable in the least. When it comes to sake, we enjoy namazake, an unpasteurized sake, and nigorizake, a cloudy sake, over the clear and more widely available seishu sake.
Here, we have Hakutsuru Marugoto Shibori Yuzu Nigori Sake, a cloudy sake made with whole yuzu that we picked up from the brewery itself in Kobe. In 2016, this sake won the Monde Selection Grand Gold Quality Award for the sixth consecutive year and the Monde International High Quality Trophy for the fourth consecutive year having received the former award for three consecutive years.
The liquor is a beautiful translucent yellow, much like the colour of fresh yuzu, with bright fruity notes of yuzu in the nose. Consumed ice-cold with ice, the sake has a rich and intense flavour of yuzu with a very mild bitter alcoholic undertone from the head through to the finish and a slightly acidic and bitter aftertaste of yuzu.
‘Intense’ describes the flavour of the sake because it tastes like liquefied yuzu with its characteristic notes of lemon-like sourness, grapefruit-like bitterness and mandarin-like sweetness amplified ten-fold. Indeed, yuzu is rarely eaten as a fruit and more often used for seasoning or flavouring other dishes and beverages. As liquefied fruit, the intensity is so overwhelming that D and I could manage only sips at a time. To make the sake easier to drink we diluted 2 parts sake with 1 part soda water for a more balanced beverage that recalled a brewed yuzu soft drink and complemented well with the sweet, milder flavour of nigorizake.
This bottle of Hakutsuru Marugoto Shibori Yuzu Nigori Sake contained 720ml. It was bottled in Japan and purchase in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan in 2015.