Episode 71 Show Notes

Episode 71. You may have heard that most sake is best consumed young and fresh. But what happens when you come across a sake that is older? What’s the deal with sakes that are aged 3 years, 5 years or even over a decade? This week, we’re exploring what happens when sake is allowed to age gracefully and become what is known as “koshu”. This type of aged or matured sake is also known as Jukuseishu, and it is only a small percentage of the total sake market. It does tend to be more expensive as well, but it is an interesting area of sake culture and flavor that is well worth looking into. In this episode, we’re learning-by-tasting and sipping a more traditional expression of koshu – an amber-colored yamahai junmai genshu aged for 12 years produced by the Kanbara brand located in Niigata Prefecture. Known as “Ancient Treasure” this koshu sake is a perfect example of how delicious, deep and unique flavors can evolve when a suitable style of sake is carefully aged by expert brewers with some time on their hands. Listen in as John and Timothy taste for themselves how time itself can transform simple sake into a mature masterpiece.

Skip to: 00:19 Hosts Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy

Skip to: 02:21 Sake Education Corner: Koshu
“Koshu” is the most common term you’ll hear for an “aged sake”, but it literally means “old sake”, so some brewer’s avoid this term for their more premium aged sakes. An alternate term is “jukuseishu”, which means aged or matured sake. An even more formal term is “choki jukuseishu” which means long-term aged sake.

So what qualifies as aged sake? Most in the industry agree that aging sake for 3 years or longer generally qualifies as an “aged sake”. This can start at 3 years and go up from there – 5 years, 10 years or in the case of the Kanbara Ancient Treasure, 12 years. Sake can be aged in bottle or in tank, but most brewers do age in tank.

Temperature plays a huge role in the outcome of aging a sake. Room temperature aging promotes color change in the sake and you’ll more likely end up with a sherry-like golden or amber color in the sake while freezing temperature aging keeps the sake more clear. If you want to promote color change when aging a sake, then room temp is the way to go.

Skip to: 11:06 The oldest Koshu?

Decades old koshu aging at Tsuki no Katsura in Kyoto – some of the oldest Koshu you’ll find!

Tsuki no Katsura Brand, made by Masuda Tokubee Honten in Kyoto prefecture is well known for aging sake for decades. this sake is not often made available for tasting, but it is a treasure trove of vintage nihonshu. This stash was started with the current president’s father and is a priceless collection of super Choki Jukuseishu!

Skip to: 16:25 Sake Introduction and Tasting: Kanbara Ancient Treasure Yamahai Junmai Genshu Koshu

Kanbara Ancient Treasure Yamahai Junmai Genshu Koshu

Brewery: Kaetsu Shuzo
Classification: Genshu, Junmai, Koshu, Yamahai
Acidity: 3.1
Alcohol: 17%
Prefecture: Niigata
Seimaibuai: 70%
SMV: -13.0
Rice Type: Koshitanrei, Yamadanishiki
Brand: Kanbara (蒲原)
Importer: Vine Connections (USA)

View on UrbanSake.com: Kanbara Ancient Treasure Yamahai Junmai Genshu Koshu

Purchase on TippsySake.com: Kanbara Ancient Treasure Yamahai Junmai Genshu Koshu
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.

Skip to: 33:22 Show Closing

This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!

Episode 71 Transcript

John Puma: 0:22
Hello everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast. That’s right. You found it. Uh, I am your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes. Also the administrator over at the internet.sake discord. Do stop down and have a drink with us sometime. And the guy on the show who is most notably. And definitely not today. a, sake, samurai.

Timothy Sullivan: 0:49
And I am your host, Timothy Sullivan. I am a sake samurai, a sake educator, as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week John and I will be here tasting and also chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.

John Puma: 1:10
Wonderful, wonderful. Uh, so Tim. Um, this is going to be an interesting one. I think it’s going to be interesting because, know very little about this topic about this specific type of sake. Uh, this is something this episode, this is, this was your, idea.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:28
Yep. Guilty as charged.

John Puma: 1:30
is yours. You, you went and found the sake. Okay.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:32
I did.

John Puma: 1:33
And. I’m I’m kind of along for the ride. I think I’m ready to get educated. You’re a sake educator and I am ready to get educated today.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:43
well, I’ll start off by saying what we’re going to be tasting today. I’ve heard the production of this type of sake is less than 1% of all sake made.

John Puma: 1:52
so this is, this is, This is the 1%

Timothy Sullivan: 1:54
This is the one first sentence.

John Puma: 1:56
than 1%,

Timothy Sullivan: 1:57
the Jeff Bezos says

John Puma: 1:59
the Jeff Bezos of Oh, wait, so wait, centrifuge.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:03
no, no, no.

John Puma: 2:05
We told everybody, we were doing an episode on that,

Timothy Sullivan: 2:07
The other 1%.

John Puma: 2:09
the other one present. Okay. Um, and, uh, Yes. So, Tim, can you tell the folks at home are Intrepid listeners what is this rarefied sake that we’re going to be talking about today?

Timothy Sullivan: 2:21
Yes. Today we’re talking all things. Koshu I know you’ve heard that term before. Koshu

John Puma: 2:28
I know Koshu. I mean, I know of Koshu I don’t, I don’t get a lot of Koshu, but I I’m aware of it.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:33
that would tie in with that only 1%

John Puma: 2:37
Yeah. Very much. So.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:39
There’s a few layers that we have to dig into here. The term Koshu is what you’re going to hear most often. And that if you literally translate the words, Koshu, that means old sake.

John Puma: 2:54
that checks out great. A wonderful visit to the sake education corner. We can go home now.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:59
See, that was easy. sake is difficult.

John Puma: 3:03

Timothy Sullivan: 3:03
Yes. So the everyday colloquial term for sake that is aged is “koshu”. But you know, I don’t know if you can put yourself in the shoes of some of the brewers out there that make the most exquisite sakes in the world. They lager them for 10 years plus, and then they get this label old sake. Doesn’t roll off the tongue as it should

John Puma: 3:28
I mean, it literally is old sake though.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:31
literally, but there’s another term that we use jukuseishu jukuseishu. This sounds a little more elegant, a little more refined. That literally means aged sake or matured sake. And then there’s a more, formal term, choki jukuseishu, choki jukuseishu. issue that is longterm age to sake, and that kind of has the most formal feel to it.

John Puma: 4:00
It definitely sounds formal. Um, long-term a well we’ll, I’m sure we’ll get into exactly what the notes long-term. because, for people at home who may not be aware, typically sake is not aged in the way that you know, many other, alcoholic beverages are, I want to say that for you’re aging, your maturing process, your aging process, it’s a, a, couple of months right Tim?

Timothy Sullivan: 4:29
One question I get a lot when I teach sake seminars to consumers, is can you age a, a, like you age, a wine and the answer as always

John Puma: 4:41
that one.

Timothy Sullivan: 4:43
the answer is always yes and no.

John Puma: 4:46
Yes. I mean, you can, it’s probably not going to have The. desired effect. There are some indestructable sakes out there that, that age and do well with that and, and they can stand up to that kind of thing. But you were, and please, if I’m wrong, correct me. Uh, your, your average run of the mill, um, junmai ginjo is not something that’s gonna really agree with aging.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:17
If people ask me for a general rule of thumb, when it comes to aging sake, the best aged sakes koshus or jukuseishu that I’ve had has always been aged by the brewery because they know their sake best. They know the temperature, the time, the method to age their sake. And when they release it, when they ship it in the bottle. That’s when it’s good for drinking, I’ve done some experiments, aging sake at home. Have you ever tried that? Like having a bottle in the fridge for several years?

John Puma: 5:52
I mean, we have a few, um, ongoing projects.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:55
Okay. TBD, maybe season three, we can get one of

John Puma: 6:00
exactly. The whole open ups. That’s what we should do. We shouldn’t, we should have like, gotten a bottle and like on like the first episode, you should have gotten this bottle of something and then like episode, you know, 300 something and we’ll open it.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:12
Well, if, if we had only known what we were doing in episode

John Puma: 6:15
if we only knew we were going to do more than like a handful of episodes. So that’s nice.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:20
Yeah. So I’ve, had some homemade. Koshu go off the rails. Let’s say that

John Puma: 6:25
Off the record.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:25
off the rails, that’s not good.

John Puma: 6:27
I was about to say, cause I’ve heard off the rails used in various and opposite. Uh, met with manners.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:36
No, this is off the rails, falling into the ravine on flames crashing, burning caput.

John Puma: 6:45
saying is.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:46
I didn’t like it.

John Puma: 6:47

Timothy Sullivan: 6:48
Yeah. So I’ve always taught people and I’ve always experienced that aging sake, if you, if you’re a consumer and you want the best experience with aged sake is to buy one from the brewery, that’s been aged by them. And that’s really a good way to ensure you’re getting the, what the brewer intended. Now there’s no rules against trying to age something yourself, or having fun with that. Knock yourself out if that’s what you want to do. But my experience has been, it’s a little difficult with sake.

John Puma: 7:24
All right. Difficult, but not impossible, I think that is something that’s best left to the professionals. So we, we, we mentioned that aging, your own sake, probably not the best idea. And that sake maturation is typically measured in months. not in years. So all koshu, literally old sake. Uh, how, how, uh, how old are we talking here before it’s considered old?

Timothy Sullivan: 7:51
Well, when, when a brewer it makes a regular sake, they’re going to ferment that for 30 days and then. That usually hangs out for three months to six months at the brewery. Then after that it’s going to get pasteurized and bottled and shipped right away. So the majority of sake is aged three to six months at the brewery before bottling. And that’s the standard flow. So the majority of is you’re going to drink, go through that experience.

John Puma: 8:21

Timothy Sullivan: 8:22
when we get into what we call Koshu or jukuseishu. That generally is understood to be three years of maturation at the brewery or longer. So three years plus is what most people would consider to be koshu or aged on purpose sake.

John Puma: 8:44
Hmm. And is this age. And the tank for three years is it aged in bottles for three years. Those bottles get dusty if they are aged in the bottle.

Timothy Sullivan: 8:55
Yeah, the majority. Do you have breweries that I visited are aging in tank, usually a stainless steel tank in a temperature controlled room. And there’s a reason that in tank is generally done over in bottle. When you think of the oxygen exposure to a volume of sake, let’s say you have, you know, X number of hundreds of liters of sake. If they’re all in their individual bottles, spread out, that is not as easy to control as having one tank with X amount of exposure on the top. Everything under the surface is completely protected and. It’s easier to control what happens to the sake if it’s done in tank. So for reasons of, control and getting the exact result, you want the majority of brewers that I’ve visited and I’ve talked to have all said they prefer aging in tank.

John Puma: 9:54
Hmm. And did it, they seal off the top of that tank or, okay.

Timothy Sullivan: 9:59
The fermentation tanks are open. So if you visit a brewery and you go in the fermentation room, It’s open and the gases are coming out, but once the fermentation is done, the tanks that we use for aging are sealed and airtight and usually in a temperature controlled environment.

John Puma: 10:18
Oh, all right. Wonderful. That is good to know. That’s good to know. We’ve got this. This other term here, this long-term age sake.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:28

John Puma: 10:29
so? I’m assuming that’s more than three years then.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:32
I think the three terms we mentioned Koshu jukuseishu and Choki jukuseishu, these are all really interchangeable. They’re just different levels of how formal you want to be about it.

John Puma: 10:46
okay. I thought the choki was kind of, since that’s bolted onto the front of the, uh, juke say shoe was like, no, we really mean it. It’s it’s it’s aged for a while.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:57
The general industry understanding is three years or longer at the brewery, but they’re just different levels of formal expression.

John Puma: 11:06
Oh, okay. and, and what’s the oldest.

Timothy Sullivan: 11:10
the oldest koshu out there. Oh, that’s a good question. Well, the oldest Koshu I have ever seen in my travels by far has been in kyoto. There is a brewery in Kyoto Masuda tokube shoten. The brand name is tsuki no katsura. And they are a very famous brand in Kyoto. They’ve been around since 1675. So that is a hundred years before the declaration of independence and they are so well-respected and the current president’s father started laying down sake. Decades and decades and decades ago. So well, over 60, 70 years of these ceramic containers filled with sake and I got to peek into this room. It’s an attic room at the brewery where they have these wax sealed ceramic containers filled with decades old sake. It is a treasure and it is by far the oldest. sake I’ve ever seen aging somewhere.

John Puma: 12:26

Timothy Sullivan: 12:26
I can’t guarantee it’s the oldest out there. There might be another brewery with some bottles or tanks somewhere, but, uh, as far as I know, tsuki no katsura in Kyoto as an amazing treasure of aged sake.

John Puma: 12:42
And did you, um, did you taste it?

Timothy Sullivan: 12:45
No, it isn’t that they, they do periodic releases of aged sake and I have never had the pleasure of tasting something that is like decades and decades old, like older than I am. So, uh, that’s pretty old.

John Puma: 13:04
It’s pretty old. I want to, you know, I didn’t want to, uh, blow up your spot.

Timothy Sullivan: 13:09
Let me say it for you. Yeah, so that they have some of the oldest Koshu I’m. Sure. And there’s also a bar that I went to in Tokyo that specializes in serving only Koshu

John Puma: 13:28
only Koshu.

Timothy Sullivan: 13:30

John Puma: 13:30

Timothy Sullivan: 13:32
So there’s a koshu sake bar in Tokyo as well.

John Puma: 13:35
I, I believe I’ve heard tell of this place, but I’ve never visited it.

Timothy Sullivan: 13:40
I went once.

John Puma: 13:41
and how was your experience?

Timothy Sullivan: 13:43
it was lovely. It was lovely. It’s a very small, like one counter, very traditional Japanese style sake bar. And with Koshu they had everything kind of out.

John Puma: 13:54
Oh Yeah. Cause you can just do that,

Timothy Sullivan: 13:56
Yeah. Cause they were aging in

John Puma: 13:58

Timothy Sullivan: 13:59
some in refrigerators, some out on display, lovely experience. Really, really.

John Puma: 14:05
Fair enough. now I imagine that when you’re, aging, any, any kind of item, really, uh, any kind of alcoholic item, the aging is going to lead to, you know, kind of more for more scarcity and that’s going to increase the price. So Koshu is typically a little bit higher.

Timothy Sullivan: 14:24
yeah, it, it also has to do with. The delay in return on investment.

John Puma: 14:31

Timothy Sullivan: 14:31
So if you brew a sake and then you age it for four years, five years, and then you sell it, you’ve delayed your return on investment for that, those raw materials and that time, so that there is a premium on aged sake on koshu. it does tend to be more expensive. I would agree with that.

John Puma: 14:55
Right. And then I guess the, the ho the higher you go in age, the, uh, the, the more that. probably that number goes up

Timothy Sullivan: 15:02

John Puma: 15:02
now, do. we have Koshu today to sip on? I mean, we must.

Timothy Sullivan: 15:07
we do. Yes. And John, before we start, I want to ask you if you went to some event and they said, oh, I have a Koshu. I want you to taste it. What pops into your mind, like for you, what’s your understanding of what koshu.

John Puma: 15:24
Um, my thought when somebody says, oh, well, I don’t want you to taste some Koshu I’m going to begin Bracing. for something. No, no. You know, you could have preparing your mind for what you’re going to experience. I don’t mean it in a negative way necessarily, but I think of like, uh, kind of like a Sherry or like an app, you know, a after dinner kind of drink, like something that I’m going to have with them. Probably, you know, ice cream or something like that, or just a drink to go with dessert,

Timothy Sullivan: 15:55

John Puma: 15:56
going to be sweet. I’m thinking like caramel, I’m that kind of thing.

Timothy Sullivan: 16:00
okay. So you think like dark, dark color, sweeter in flavor.

John Puma: 16:06
Typically, I’ve had a few that were richer in flavor, which kind of reminded me a little bit of like, uh, some, some, Yeah. Um, artisan rums or, uh, or whiskeys, but those, those have been pretty rare most of the time, I think kind of sweet.

Timothy Sullivan: 16:25
Yeah. So that is what most people. Envision when they think of koshu, I think that’s the popular understanding of what Koshu And the sake we’re tasting today is very much in that vein. I wanted to introduce you to a super classic Koshu that is, what the majority of people are gonna understand Koshu to be. So is it alright if I introduced this sake to you?

John Puma: 16:51

Timothy Sullivan: 16:53
All right. So I picked out a sake from Niigata today, the brand name is Kanbara and this is known in English as Ancient Treasure.

John Puma: 17:05
Ancient treasure. That’s a good name for a koshu.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:10
Yes. this is from the Kaetsu sake brewery in Niigata Japan. This ancient treasure is a Yamahai. It’s a Junmai. It’s a genshu and it’s a Koshu

John Puma: 17:30
Yeah. You like to make comments about kitchen sink sake is, but think we found a new category. It adds to this one.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:36
you got it. This is another kitchen sink sake, a little bit of everything going on. So Yamahai, fermentations starter. It’s a junmai sake. And it’s a genshu. So full strength, no water. And it’s a Koshu now let’s look at each of these in a little more detail. So first I’m going to jump right to what we’re talking about. The Koshu this sake was aged for 12 years.

John Puma: 18:02
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Wait, what

Timothy Sullivan: 18:04
12. Uh, yes,

John Puma: 18:07
I have literally had whiskeys that were younger than this.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:10
yes, yes. So this is a 12 year aged koshu. And I read on their website that using the Yamahai yeast starter method, which we have some previous shows on Yamahai. If you want to go check those out, that created a higher acid environment and that higher acid starter sake allowed them to age for 12 years. If this was a lighter, cleaner, quieter sake. 12 years of aging might not benefit it as much, but the fact that it’s a genshu, full strength, sake, no water added, and also a Yamahai style. Those two things contribute to this being an age worthy sake. Now let me give you some of the stats. The rice milling for this Junmai was 70% and the rice used is Yamada Nishiki and Koshi tanrei

John Puma: 19:10
Hm Koshi tanrei sounds like a NIigata rice.

Timothy Sullivan: 19:16
Yes, it is. Yes. Very good. The SMV, the sake meter value, how sweet or dry the impression is? This is a minus 13.

John Puma: 19:26

Timothy Sullivan: 19:27
pretty low. So that means this will probably give us a sweeter impression and another barrier busting stat here. Acidity 3.1.

John Puma: 19:39
that is an alarmingly high.

Timothy Sullivan: 19:42
Yes. So our acidity is normally ranking somewhere between 1.0 and 2.0. So this goes off the chart and then a little bit further.

John Puma: 19:51
It’s it gets, it

Timothy Sullivan: 19:52
And our alcohol, our

John Puma: 19:54

Timothy Sullivan: 19:57
our alcohol is 17.2%.

John Puma: 20:00
I believe

Timothy Sullivan: 20:01
high alcohol as well. And if all of that, John, if all of that was not in there enough to make this an interesting sake. And I have one more fact for you regarding the, the Kanbara Ancient Treasure. So 99% of the rice used that Yamada Nishiki and Koshi ton. Ray together is Koji rice. So, no. So normally, nor have you ever heard of all Koji sake before? This is an basically except for 1%, this is an all Koji sake as So 99% of the rice that was used to brew this, sake had Koji mold grown on it. Normally that percentage is only 20%, that is standard, but they wanted that extra umami and lift and sweetness. So 99% of the rice used was given the Koji mold treatment. Whew. That was a

John Puma: 21:01
Yeah. So typically when you’ve got two different rices, in your sake, you using one of them for the Koji and the other one for the starch component, the kakemai,

Timothy Sullivan: 21:12

John Puma: 21:12
this is 99% Koji. What’s the here.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:16
Well, You know, honestly, I don’t know for sure, but I’m, I’m assuming here that Yamada Nishiki and the Koshi Tanrei were both had, Koji grown on them and they’re both, they’re both used, so we’re going to go with our, assumption there. And then I confirmed that this sake was aged in tank for 12 years. This is not bottle or barrel aging or anything like that. This was aged in tank and that refers to a stainless steel tank. So it completely neutral. Now, after that momentous introduction, uh, you have your sample and I have my

John Puma: 21:57
I do.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:59
So John, before we started, I asked you to take your bottle out of the fridge so that things can warm up a little bit. Koshu is actually really, really great to enjoy closer to room temperature.

John Puma: 22:14
well, well, I took it out, uh, about an hour ago or maybe an hour and a half. So I think it has probably gotten. pretty close. It’s probably not quite room temperature. It’s probably around there. So this is a different kind of sake, different style of sake. we like to recommend people use wineglasses for their sake. Do you still recommend wine glasses for this? Or you think maybe like, a highball glass or whiskey sniffer, like what am I doing for this? Because this is very different and very unique.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:41
So I’m using a wine glass, red wine glass, and you could use a Brandy snifter for this. You could use a Beaujolais glass, something with a big bowl to it. That would be wonderful. Um, but any, any vessel with a bowl to it is going to be perfect. So wine glass is absolutely A-OK. So I’m going to go ahead and pour mine from the bottle Okay. So let’s look at this in the glass. What, what colors are you seeing? John? 12 year aged.

John Puma: 23:19
Um, so this is a very, very Amber, this looks, this, this, you could mistake this for scotch.

Timothy Sullivan: 23:28
Yeah, it looks like whiskey. It could be Brandy in the glass. It is an Amber color. I still have some lightness here. Like it’s a bright and it’s not dark and opaque. You can see through it, but it is, it is a lovely Brandy or whiskey cast to it. Really lovely oranges.

John Puma: 23:53

Timothy Sullivan: 23:54
Really unique. This is, this has to be one of the most unique sakes we’ve ever tasted

John Puma: 23:58
I would say definitely. It’s gotta be this. The, the here is by himself, like the 12 year aging, all alone is probably the most makes it the most unique sake we’ve had.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:08
All right, well, let’s give it a smell. Okay.

John Puma: 24:15
There is a lot going on.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:19
intensely complex.

John Puma: 24:22

Timothy Sullivan: 24:22
So we’ve got so much going on. We’ve got the Koji element, the Yamahai element, the higher alcohol element, and 12 years of careful and judicious aging going on here. This is a very rare style of sake. It goes without saying, and when you see this color, This dark color. Where does that come from? You know, why did it turn this color? And I want people to think about, uh, toast actually

John Puma: 24:58

Timothy Sullivan: 25:00

John Puma: 25:01
I’m thinking about toast

Timothy Sullivan: 25:01
Yeah. So we have this thing called the, Maillard Effect where when you heat sugar, They turn brownish like toast. So white bread put it in a toaster. It turns brown and delicious, and the same thing can happen with long-term aging and sake. So you get this almost caramelization effect to the sugars that are in the sake. This happens more consistently and more readily at room temperature. So I’m going to venture that this sake was aged in tank at room temperature. Now I want to mention briefly before we taste that there are some sakes that are called a Koshu or a jukuseishu, and they’re aged at very, very cold temperatures. They do not turn as dark whiskey. Like as this sake, they’re going to remain more clear and more true to their original color because the low temperature aging is going to slow down. Maillard effect or that caramelization of the sugar. Yeah. So let’s give it a smell again. Um, so I picked up on mushroom and. Also caramel smells.

John Puma: 26:22
Yeah, a lot of, a lot of caramel in here.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:25
Hmm. Yeah. And it, it does smell toasted, right? Like a little bit toasty.

John Puma: 26:35
It’s. Yes, it’s this kind of a difficult to describe it smells warm Warming.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:40

John Puma: 26:41
Which again is a, is something that, um, I often associate with those darker liquors.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:47
Yeah. So this has definitely like a caramelized feeling to it on the aroma, a little bit toasted, a little bit umami driven. Uh, there’s really deep and complex aromatics going on.

John Puma: 27:03
Yeah. this is there’s a ton going on here. I mean, between. All the things that have gone on with the sake, which is in the 99% Koji rice, the fact that it’s a Yamahai that genshu, it hasn’t been diluted. And then in the 10 years, that’s crazy.

Timothy Sullivan: 27:21
But when I smell a sake like this, you mentioned this earlier, when you said what your impression of koshu was in general. I think of like, you know, digestiv after dinner drink, it has that type of warming. It’s a type of sake you’re going to sip in small amounts and maybe not gulped down on the sofa after work.

John Puma: 27:45
no, I don’t, I don’t think, I don’t think that’s going to fall into this category at All

Timothy Sullivan: 27:51
All right. Well, I’m really curious. Let’s give this a taste. Mm, okay. wowza!. So I taste the acidity, like I’m greeted by acidity with this sake.

John Puma: 28:08
This is weird. Yeah. because the acidity, it brings it a certain amount of, um, brightness. And you’re not supposed to have Brightness. and something. That’s 12 years old. Uh, so this is, uh, it’s like, it takes my head a moment to like wrap around what just

Timothy Sullivan: 28:24
yeah, yeah,

John Puma: 28:25
this is very, I’ve never tasted a koshu that tastes like this.

Timothy Sullivan: 28:30

John Puma: 28:30
It’s definitely adjacent to other, other koshus I’ve had, like, it’s got that, that deep complex flavor. It is sweet. and has that, that after dinner, style to it, but there’s something else also. And that that’s that acidity. I think

Timothy Sullivan: 28:49
So the acidity is there for me, greeting you right up front. Yeah. For me. I don’t know if you can taste this john, but there’s something smokey in there as well. Do you get like a hint of something smoky on the finish? Like for me it ties in with that caramelization, like a little hint of a smoky flavor as well on the finish.

John Puma: 29:13
I got, more of a toastiness than I do a smokiness. I’m not getting like a smoke so much when I think of smoke. I’m thinking of how it applies to other dark liquors. And that’s not what I’m getting here, but I got like a, like a roasted roasted something that’s in there. It’s really interesting. It’s very different.

Timothy Sullivan: 29:37
Yeah, I think we’re picking up on the same trail there for me. It’s coming across as a little smoky, but it can be. Toasty and caramelized as well. Definitely umami. Like I’m almost thinking like even hints of mushroom or a little bit of nuttiness as well.

John Puma: 30:00
the roasting, yeah. there’s a, there’s a cooked nut quality to it, or like a, like a, Sesame.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:11
Hmm. There you go. That’s it?

John Puma: 30:14
I’ve never had anything like this.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:16
Yeah, it is super unique,

John Puma: 30:19

Timothy Sullivan: 30:20
but it, for me, this is in like, this is in the whiskey category. Like if you’re a whiskey lover and you give someone who’s a whiskey lover, you give them this sake. They’re going to flip out. I think like this is amazing.

John Puma: 30:36
I, Yeah. I think they’d have that. I didn’t know sake could do this reaction, um, which I think is a, it’s a good thing. Show people that sake can do more than what most people assume sake can do.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:48
yeah. This is why I love sake so much. Am I going to drink this every day of my life?

John Puma: 30:54
You’d be broke.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:55
is this I’d be broke. This is a special, rare treat. And it’s something that is on the fringes of what sake can be. But the fact that sake can do this is just blows my mind and makes me love the category even

John Puma: 31:11
Hm. Yeah, this is a, it is super unique, super different. on top of all that it’s quite good.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:18
I want to mention one more thing about age sake that I think is really unique and that I love about age sake. We always talk about how long can you keep sake or drinking it, fresh, drinking it young. And I think once a brewery has aged a sake, especially something going to 12 years, this is a stable sake now. So if you have this style of sake in your wine fridge, I think that you can open it up and keep it for while. You do not need to rush to finish a sake of this depth and maturity. And that is something. I really like I can have this in my wine fridge it’s been opened. It can continue to mature when I have friends over to my apartment next and we’re on the dessert course. I can break it out, give everyone a little bit, and it is going to taste just as good as today. That’s one advantage to getting these a little bit more expensive, but very well aged sakes is that you can enjoy them for a long time.

John Puma: 32:24

Timothy Sullivan: 32:25
Well, what did you think of this ancient treasure?

John Puma: 32:30
I feel very wealthy right now. because I’ve had a really nice treasure. this does definitely engage that part of my brain that loves whiskey, uh, much more than, than my sake brain. but Yeah. It’s another one of those things like it’s wow,sake can do this too. And you know, this is very unique, very interesting stuff.

Timothy Sullivan: 32:49
Yeah. I think that this is, it’s been a wonderful example of at traditionally aged. Yeah. That gives us these Sherry notes and these whiskey notes and a really lovely dark Amber color, but we shouldn’t have another Koshu episode sometime in the future and try a sake. That’s been aged at freezing temperatures and see how that affects the outcome. And we can harken back to this episode and contrast and compare. So we’ll, we’ll put a pin in that for the future.

John Puma: 33:20
sounds like a lot of fun.

Timothy Sullivan: 33:22
yep. Well, John, great to taste with you. And I’m so glad we got to share this treasure together

John Puma: 33:29
Yes. Yes.

Timothy Sullivan: 33:32
and, and I also want to thank all of our listeners for tuning in. Thank you so much. We really do hope that you’re enjoying our show. If you’d like to show your support for Sake Revolution podcast. One of the best ways to help us out right now, it would be to back us on Patreon. We are a listener supported show and have no advertisements. So the best way to show your support is to back us on Patreon.

John Puma: 33:58
Yes. And we do appreciate everyone that supports us. you’re supporting us by listening, supporting us by telling your friends, supporting us by writing a review on apple podcasts or any other podcast platform of choice really helps get the word out about the show. You know, even if you’re sending good vibes, all of these things support us. It’s great. We love it.

Timothy Sullivan: 34:18
Very much

John Puma: 34:18
Yes, Yes, we do.

Timothy Sullivan: 34:21
And, and as always is, if you would like to learn more about any of the topics or individual sakes that we talked about in today’s episode, be sure to visit our website, SakeRevolution.com, and it’s there that you can check out all of our detailed show notes.

John Puma: 34:37
That is right. Uh, and also I get, we got nice pictures of the labels over there. It’s really nice stuff. Good, good information. and if you have sake questions, And you need to have them answered. We have an email address that you should be sending these questions to it’s [email protected]. So until next time, everybody, please remember to keep drinking sake and kanpai!