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.
- 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.
- 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.