With spring comes the rejuvenation of nature, and among other things, our spirit. What better way to celebrate this occasion than to try something new yet old. Hakutsuru is one of the oldest saké brewers in Japan ,with a history spanning close to 250 years. After sampling some of their products, it was pretty easy to see how well they’ve established themselves in Japan.
When I came across their flagship bottle, Hakutsuru Excellent Junmai Saké, I couldn’t help myself. I made sure to chill it since the weather was a warm 86 degrees. One of the best things about different saké styles is how they can be served depending on the season. However, this is dependent on the type of saké. But that’s a different article all together.
After chilling the bottle, I sampled it immediately, as I didn’t want to give it time to oxidize; this changes the flavor of sake and other wine. On the nose there was a floral scent that drew me in. Cue the loud party music followed by an auto-tuned Kanpai. With that the music stops and I’m suddenly transported to a quiet landscape with a nice breeze carrying the scent of cherry blossoms and the dreams of my ancestors. I was in a very subdued region of flavor country.
The flavor profile was understated, but very pleasant and focused as a result. It was a bit on the dry side, but then again they aren’t trying to hide it since it’s advertised as 4+ Dryness on their company page. It’s not without a hint of sweetness, as you can definitely pick it up in the finish. If you’re not into overly sweet wines, this is a definite must drink.
Priced at $16.99 for 750 ml with an ABV of 15%, this saké really lends itself to being drunk hot or cold, depending how the weather or how you’re feeling. If cold, I would recommend drinking it in glass rather than a ceramic cup, as you are trying to keep the drink cool. So if you get a chance, pick up a bottle of this saké to have on a nice warm day. Or you can have it hot; I’m not your supervisor.