Thursday, September 10, 2009

NEW: Hiya-Oroshi is here!!!

Well folks, Fall is finally here.
Well at least if you live in Sapporo Japan it is.
This time of year a lot of things happen.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Pie, but most importantly: Hiya-Oroshi!

Just in case not everyone is familiar with Hiya-Oroshi (written 冷や卸し in Japanese), I will give a little bit of an explanation here.  First off, if you plug Hiya-Oroshi into one of those fancy pants online translators you get something around the lines of "Cold Distribution." Which although isn't the most elegant of terms, is more or less correct. Hiya-Oroshi stems from the many years before refrigeration, and pasteurization. In those long ago times, sake breweries would store their sakes in a cool place for the dreadfully hot summer months, until things started to cool off again in the fall and it was safe for the sake. The result of the extended storage was a rounder, softer, slightly fuller bodied sake. Now, with both refrigeration, and pasteurization, there is no longer a need for sake to be stored over the summer, however, the softer refined taste of a fall brew has become a seasonal favorite, and is continued to this day.

I would like to start off the Hiya-Oroshi season with bash, so I will be introducing two Hiya-Oroshi sakes in this post. The fall season in Sapporo is rather short, with the first snow fall looming just about a month away, but I will try and get in tasting notes of a few more fall brews before the season ends.

This season we have about 25 fall brews, Jammed like sardines into our already quite full fridges, so if you are looking for a good brew, feel free to stop by if you are in the area.

The sake behind the door on the right is all Hiya-Oroshi, and half of the sake on the left.

Well that's enough lip flapping for now, on to the tasting notes!

Yutaka Private Label sake
Third edition Hiya-Oroshi Junmai Daiginjo
Alcohol: 16% / Polish: 50%
SMV: Not Available
Daishinshuu Shuzo / Nagano Prefecture

Tasting Notes:
On the nose: Thick full nose, although not overbearing. Slightly yeasty with lots of rice and accents of fruit.

On the palate: Quite dry medium bodied with a solid acid structure. Dry but very smooth and fresh, with an underlying ricey fruity sweetness. Quick, clean, crisp finish.

Other notes:

  • This is the third installment of private label sakes that has come into Yutaka.
  • I designed the label myself.
  • The first label had a blue bear (our stores mascot) the second an orange bear (still about 6 bottles left), and now in honor of fall, a green orange red gradation.
  • The first two were Junmai Ginjo, although they could have been Daiginjo, and were lighter bodied and more fragrant. The third edition has more body and a less complicated nose.
  • the third edition is available in both 720ml and 1.8L bottles.

Kenkonichi / 乾坤一
Junmai Ginjo Genshu Hiya-Oroshi / 純米吟醸原酒冷や卸し
Alcohol: 17% / Polish: 50%
SMV: +2
Oonuma Shuzou-ten / Miyagi Prefecture

Tasting Notes:
On the nose: Lots of Kome-Koji, light tangy nose.

On the palate: Medium bodied, medium dry. Very round with solid rice and Kome-Koji. It's mild acidity and round mouth feel make it very smooth, and before you know it half the bottle is gone.

Other Notes:

  • Oonuma Shuzo-ten's style is a brew that is smooth, easy to drink, not overbearing but has good body and good flavor. Their Hiya-Oroshi takes this style to the next level by adding in a very round mouth feel and mellowed acid base. Kenkonichi sake is a sake made for drinking and enjoying with food or by itself, not for winning gold medals.
  • This sake is available in both 720ml and 1.8L bottles.
  • be carful of the slightly higher alcohol content as this is a Genshu (undiluted sake).
  • Kenkonichi sake is one of my all time favorite sake brands, and I highly recommend any of the other labels, ranging from Junmai to Daiginjo, as well.
That's it for this time, I will be posting a bit more on the Hiya-Oroshi sakes before we head into Shiboritate (Fresh brewed fresh pressed winter brew) season.
This years brewing season is almost underway with most breweries starting their first batch in the beginning or middle of next month. This year I plan on going to several of the breweries during the brewing season to help out / learn the sake making process first hand. I of course will be towing my computer and email capable cell phone (blogger allows you to post by email, thank goodness), so there will be plenty of sake secrets coming in the nest few months!
Until next time,
Meishu no Yutaka Staff


  1. Urayamashi~! We are still waiting for Hiyaoroshi in NYC. Another 1 or 2months? Oh, I cannot wait to taste Hiyaoroshi!


  2. Hi Hiroko-san!

    Hiyaoroshi is here, and boy is it here!
    I think we have around 20 kinds right now,
    and that was after a hard selection period.
    (Of course we would love to sell them all but they won't fit in the already over stuffed refrigerators ^_^; )

    I can really understand your anticipation!
    There are a lot of good things to look forward too,
    Including a first time Hiyaoroshi from "Born (梵)"!!

    The wait is hard and long but the rewards are delicious!


  3. Hi Carlin,

    This is the first time I stumbled across your blog. Looking forward to following you. Will be linking to you also.

  4. Thank you,
    I look forward to sharing the Sake world with you!
    We seem to share an interest in both sake and hot springs!
    I took a quick peek over at your blogs as well,
    looks to be an interesting collection of all things Japan.
    I may link to you as well if you don't mind.