oni.jpgI’ve never met a real, live Ogre before today, but I have to say I was surprised how nice and photogenic he was. I would say downright friendly! …And any Ogre that is passing out sake is a friend of mine!

I met my new “Oni” friend at a special tasting hosted by Kazu-san and Mariko-san of Prestige Sake International Distributors. They held the event to introduce some new sakes, and some stand-by favorites, to retailers and restaurant folks.

Besides our friendly Ogre, there were some even more friendly sake brewers who were on hand, too… I even had the thrill of meeting Mr. Fujii-san, the creator of the 2007 Golden Masu Award Winning brew “Kamikokoro Nama”!

Imanishi.jpgI started the event meeting Mr. Imanishi, President of Harushika Brewery. Harushika from Nara Prefecture is a popular brand in New York City. Along with their well known sakes, I also tasted two daiginjos I wasn’t familiar with. here’s the breakdown:

*Harushikia Extra Dry Junmai (SMV +12, Acidity 1.6) Dry as a bone. great for lovers of Extra Dry

*Harkushika Tokimeki Junmai (SMV -80, Acidity 5.5) Sparkling sake that is off the charts on both SMV and Acidity, this low alcohol sake breaks all the rules.

*Harushikia Daigomi Junmai (SMV +4.5 Acidity 1.6) light and drinkable.

*Harushika Daiginjo (SMV +2.5, Acidity 1.3) Smooth and light. Excellent Daiginjo

*Harushika Daigninjo Shizuku (SMV +3.5, Acidity 1.3) Clean, clean clean trickle sake.

*Harushika Shiboribana Junmai Ginjo Nama (SMV +3, Acidity 1.4) fresh and springy nama.

kamikokoro.jpgNext I got to meet my nama rock star, Mr Nobuhiko Fujii. Kamikokoro is a relatively young brewery in Ohyama Prefecture. The exciting thing about their nama is the use of peach yeast to make it taste extra fruity and special. I find that the zest and zing really come across in this exciting brew. Fujii-san was also presenting a Tokubetsu Junmai and a Junmai Daiginjo. I find Kamikokoro a brewery to really get excited about.

* Kamikokoro “Tokagen” Tokubetsu Junami Nama Genshu (SMV -11, Acidity 1.4) This sake is a winner in my book. Sweet and infused with a peachy-strawberry fruit that is just delightful.

* Kamikokoro Nagisanouta Tokubetsu Junmai (SMV -2.5 Acidity 1.25). this sake is intriguing and soft as a cloud.

* Kamikokoro Koi Junmai Daiginjo. (smv +2, Acidity 1.1) Mild fruit and a touch of a dry finish.

namas.jpgIchinokura is a great reliable brewery that was my next stop. I tried the following brews:

* Ichinokura Junmai (SMV +2, Acidity 1.4) Rice in the nose and full junmai flavor

* Ichinokura Nama Tokubetsu Junmai Nama (SMV +3, Acitidy 1.5) Year round nama with light fruit but not a fruit bomb.

* Ichinokura Himezen “princess” (SMV -65, Acidity 5) Sweet Low alcohol sake for the Princess in your life.

* Ichinokura Nama Gneshu Nigori tokubetsu junmai (SMV -1, Acidity 1.8) This was a very intriguing sake. higher acidity gives this cloudy confection a fantastic bite.

nakanishi.jpgLast, I tried some fascinating sakes from Shutendouji “Red Ogre” Brewery from Kyoto Prefecture. Mr. Nakanishi, the president of this brewery was enthusiastic and brought his Ogre all the way from Kyoto. Besides the ogre, the big story from Shutendouji was the special rice grown especially for the brewery in Kyoto prefecture. These sakes are new to the US and I enjoyed tasting them.

* Shutendouji Kyo-onna Tokubetsu Junmai (SMV -7, Acidity +1.6) Mild aroma with hints of rice.

* Shutendouji Mitaiken (SMV +2 Acidity 1.5) Now, this sake spoke to me. Balanced but with a full bodied richness. I think this sake clearly qualifies as yummy.

This tasting was a rip roaring good time and I was really pumped up by the enthusiasm of the brewers on hand. It’s always a fantastic thrill to meet brewers and I feel like I can ask them more as I learn more. Prestige put on a great event and it was a real thrill to attend. Only drawback is now I’ll have to think twice before drinking Demon Slayer!

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