Junmai • Pure Rice Sake
Yamahai • Traditional yeast starter method
Muroka • No charcoal filtration
Nama • Unpasteurised
Genshu • Undiluted
Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Polish rate: 70%
The label depicts a drawing of yama (mountain in Japanese), named after the Yamahai process and Yamada Nishiki rice used in the sake. The rice are grown organically by the brewery themselves, polished to 70% to build a depth of flavour. Yeast strain #7 is used, producing rich fruit character with a fine acidic backbone, a savory depth and a long finish.
What you can expect:
Rich, complex and vibrant. Fresh on the palate with a rich fruit character and savory depth. This sake ages gracefully, typically develops a savoury depth with time.
About Akishika Shuzo | Nose, Osaka Prefecture
Akishika Shuzo was founded in the town of Nose (No-say) in Osaka prefecture in 1886. When Hiroaki Oku took over his family brewery in 2009, he set a new production target: He wanted to slash it by 75 percent. Each year he gets closer to that goal, and Akishika sakes get rarer. His reasoning: he wants to use only the very best rice, and to be at the helm for every step of the process. He’s aiming for what he calls “ikkan-zukuri”, meaning production from seedling to sake.
Oku-san grows organic rice on 22 hectares of local land without the use of herbicide, pesticides and agricultural chemicals. He makes his own fertiliser by fermenting the byproducts of rice growing and sake brewing. He won’t use manure, he says, because you can’t be sure what the animals ate. The focus on organic isn’t just about health. When you avoid the nitrogen-based fertilisers you can grow a better, leaner grain, free of the impurities that can ruin a sake. The care put into the cultivation of rice shows in the sake, which are unfiltered to retain as much of the purity and umami of the rice as possible.
He has also invested in a milling machine. You don’t often see them in breweries of this size because they’re enormous beasts, they cost about the same as a Lamborghini Huracan, and it’s easy to outsource the milling. But it’s a price you pay if you want to be ikkan-zukuri.
Oko-san's sakes typically have layers upon layers of flavour and a moreish streak of acidity. Some are held back to develop for years until he believes they’re in perfect drinking condition. Sake from Akishika Shuzo have a cult status in Japan, so when Akishika does release sake, they sell out exceptionally quickly. We are lucky to get our hands on a few bottles.