Eikun – Koto Sen Nen – Junmai Ginjō

Eikun – Koto Sen Nen – Junmai Ginjō

Eikun –  ‘Koto Sen Nen’ –  Junmai Ginjō      Summary: Fruity and floral fragrance . Mildly sweet, green, elegant, with a dry finish. Kyoto courtesan with a sweet smile and acerbic tongue. Seimaibuai: 55%,  Acidity 1.3, SMV +3, Acohol: 15%,  Rice: Iwaimai (Kyoto rice strain). Prefecture: Kyoto Price:  Online, about $18.50 for a 300 ml bottle. Score – 9/10 grains Details: ‘Koto Sen Nen’ sake is brewed by the brewery known as Eikun, although officially named Saito Shuzō. The naming confusion is not exclusive to these guys. It is common for  a brewery to have an official company name and a brand name. Either way, Eikun is one of the finest brewers in one of the finest sake regions of Japan – the Fushimi district of Kyoto. Kyoto is next door to the birthplace of modern sake, Nara. In the late 7h century, Imperial Court established official sake brewing department and by 701 AD, the first brewing system was systematised and completed. When the court moved to Kyoto in 794, the sake brewing activity followed. Kyoto became the first epicentre of large-scale sake brewing (it remains second-biggest sake production area). Besides the legacy of the great sake history of Kyoto, Fishimi is distinguished by having access to spring water of exceptional quality. The water (and local tōji skills) produces elegant, not too sweet, soft sake, of so-called feminine style. ‘Koto Sen Nen’ sake is the epitome of Kyoto sake. What starts with a heady floral bouquet and mildly sweet upfront palate of green melon and grapes, briskly ends with acidic, spicy, dry persuasive tail. Soft sweetness, elegance, and great structure are all present. Delicious, complex, aromatic and a bit on the dry side. The lash of its tail makes me think it would benefit from a gentle warming up. It is surprisingly well-priced online, the sake of this pedigree and elegance doesn’t come at this price often in Australia. It’s sister Ichigin’ goes for more than double here. P.S. The name translates as “thousand-year old capital”      ...

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Eikun – Ichigin – Junmai Daiginjō

Eikun – Ichigin – Junmai Daiginjō

Eikun –  Ichigin – Junmai Daiginjō   Summary: Quintessential Kyoto elegance and softness in this multi gold-winning bottle.  Expensive but worth it. Seimaibuai: 35%,  Acidity 1.1, SMV +3.5, Acohol: 15.3% Price: $188 online for 720 ml bottle. Score – 10/10 grains Details: Saito Shuzō brewery (known as Eikun) has been brewing premium Kyoto sake since 1905.  It is located in the Fushimi district, which is one of the most important brewing areas in Japan. Historic, scenic Fushimi area is blessed with the soft daiginjō-friendly water, and has a high concentration of esteemed breweries.  Fushimi area brews “feminine” sake, which is soft, elegant, and mildly fragrant and sweet. Ichigin sake is the pinnacle of Eikun’s craft. It has won eleven consecutive gold medals at the annual Japanese New Sake competition.  It is made with the king of sake rice, Yamada Nishiki, which is polished to the luxurious 35%. I pour Ichigin into a champaign flute, to mark the momentous occasion. It is absolutely transparent and clear. I swirl the liquid in the glass and inhale the ripe fragrance of honeydew melon. Ichigin is a mellow, soft, creamy sensation at first. But the sake I drink is young, and its quintessential Kyoto elegance overflows with brashness, too. Like a fruit picked off the tree a few days early, juicy and sweet but bursting with tartness. It is still a little bit green. I can, however, imagine the sake it is meant to become after maturation – all uninterrupted smoothness and balance, sweet fruity notes promptly resolved with a crisp dry finish.  I need another sip and then another, it is beautiful. This delicate daiginjō should be enjoyed chilled....

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