After my morning and afternoon of sipping and spitting sake at the Kyoto Sake Samurai sake tasting, I dashed off to Chion-in Temple by Taxi and tried to find my way to the sake tasting dinner. My hosts were gallantly looking for me on the vast temple grounds and luckily I was found and quickly escorted to the dinner without having missed too much!
The event was hosted by a group of sake loving Kyoto-ites banded together under the name “We Love Sake”. Today, they were featuring sakes from Yamagata’s Takenotsuyu Brewery and on hand as honored guests were Mr. Aisawa, the President of Takenotsuyu and his lovely wife. In addition, Mr. Beau Timkin, owner of True Sake and 2006 Sake Samurai himself was also an honored guest.
Soon after settling in (sitting on the floor) and starting on my first course of a fantastic Kaiseki dinner (my second in two days), Mr. Aisawa informed both Beau and myself that he was going to ask us to address the 60+ ‘We Love Sake’ folks enjoying their dinnner. Um… ok! So, After Mr. Aisawa said a few words about his Sake, Beau-san got up and spoke eloquently about his sake experiences at his True Sake Store. Then it was my turn… well i did my best and tried to tell these Kyoto sake fans that interest in Sake in the US is on the rise and that sake makes you happy, so I was happy to be with all of them for this event.
The Sakes featured were a fascinating line offered by Takenotsuyu. They are all Nama Genshu sakes made with with same water, same milling rate (55%) with the only difference between them being the strain of rice used. Cool! It’s always interesting to taste similar sakes side by side, but this takes it to the extreme. Paired with Kyoto Kaiskei, it was heaven. To top it off Mr. Aisawa provided his trademark Yamagata water, the same delicious water the sake is brewed with. Evian – watch out!
At the end of the night, I made it back to the hotel with my taste buds all tasted out. I am quite sure, I had never tasted this much sake in one 24-hour period before. Boy, I needed to hit the hay. This samurai had a 6:30 AM date with the Bullet Train tomorrow to speed me to my next sake adventure…