Episode 67 Show Notes

Episode 67. Diving deep into another sake brand profile, this week Timothy and John look at Domaine Senkin, also known as Senkin Shuzo. This is a 200 year old boutique brewery located in Tochigi Prefecture, and was brought back from the brink of closing its doors forever with an idea to make more wine-like sakes with a pronounced acidity and sweetness – think German riesling. Two brothers, the 11th generation brewery President Kazuki Usui and his younger brother, and the brewery’s toji, Masato Usui, decided to take the business in a new direction. Inspired by the wine industry’s concept of Domaine, the brewery has a reverence for the most traditional, low intervention brewing methods and source only hand-grown, heirloom rice varieties that all grow within 5 minutes of the brewery. The water source used to grow the rice is also used to brew the sake. The Usui brothers combine the avant-garde with the traditional – and end up with a cutting-edge style of sake that is forging a new path in the sake world.

Skip to: 00:19 Show Opening
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy

Skip to: 02:04 Brewery Profile: Domaine Senkin (Senkin Shuzo)
About Domaine Senkin

Domaine Senkin
Photo © Senkin Shuzo

About Senkin Brewery from Mutual Trading Co:
Nestled in the residential backroads of Sakura city, Tochigi Prefecture, Senkin Brewery is now run by 11th generation brothers Kazuki Usui (Brewer) and Masato Usui (Toji), who work together as brewer and toji (respectively. Senkin’s jizake are brighter and juicier than other sake; their focus is principally on deviating from the norm with elements of higher acidity and residual sugar levels (around -3.0).As their brewing motto is “Yokei na koto shinai” (do nothing unnecessary), all of their sake are brewed in small batches, are Muroka (unfiltered), Genshu (undiluted), and Nama (unpasteurized), as well as bottle aged in near-freezing temperatures. Applying the same concept as a Domaine or Estate, Senkin uses the same water for brewing as that which grows their rice, and they will only use contract-farmed Omachi, Yamada Nishiki, or Kame no O rice grown within 5 minutes of the brewery. They proudly implement both modern and traditional brewing methods across their various sake series.

Usui Brothers in front of Senkin Shuzo.
photo © Senkin Shuzo

Find Senkin Shuzo on Social Media
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/senkinofficial/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/senkinkazukichi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/仙禽senkin-2054354961500352/
Website: http://www.senkin.co.jp/
UrbanSake: https://www.urbansake.com/sake-guide/senkin-shuzo-domaine-senkin/

Skip to: 16:41 Sake Introduction and Tasting : Senkin Classic “Immortal Wing” Kamenoo Junmai Daiginjo

Senkin Classic “Immortal Wing” Kamenoo Junmai Daiginjo

Brewery: Senkin Shuzo (Domaine Senkin)
Classification: Junmai Daiginjo
Prefecture: Tochigi
Seimaibuai: 50%
SMV: -2.0
Acidity: 2.2
Alcohol: 15.0%
Rice Type: Kamenoo
Brand: Senkin Classic
Importer: Mutual Trading (USA)
Sake Name English: Immortal Wing

View on UrbanSake.com: Senkin Classic “Immortal Wing” Kamenoo Junmai Daiginjo

Purchase on TippsySake.com: Senkin Classic “Immortal Wing” Kamenoo Junmai Daiginjo
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.

Skip to: 33:28 Show Closing

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Episode 67 Transcript

John Puma: 0:21
Hello, everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast And I am your host, John Puma, from the Sake Notes and also the admin over at the internet, Sake Discord as well as lead mod over at Reddit r/sake community, where we come together to talk about sake.

Timothy Sullivan: 0:46
And I am your host, Timothy Sullivan. I’m 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 chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.

John Puma: 1:04
Full disclosure. I think my favorite part is the tasting.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:08
you don’t like chatting with me anymore. Oh,

John Puma: 1:11
say it wasn’t, I say I don’t like it. I just said my favorite part is the tasting. I’m not gonna lie to you. I enjoy chatting. I enjoy tasting. I also enjoy lounging on the couch while I sip. This is something that’s well known. Uh, I gotta say this is a little weird being back to back to zoom. I got a little, I got a little spoiled last week

Timothy Sullivan: 1:30
Yes. We had an in-person session and not only are we back to zoom, John, but we are back to another brand profile this week.

John Puma: 1:39
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, uh, i, so. I’m kind of really excited about this, this little run that we’re doing. It gives us a really great excuse to just talk about a brewery or a brand that we’re excited about. And I think that’s a lot of fun.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:55
Yeah. Well, we picked a humdinger this week.

John Puma: 1:58
A humdinger

Timothy Sullivan: 1:59
This is a really unique brand. Do you want to let the good folks know what we’re going to talk about?

John Puma: 2:04
Sure, sure, I think unofficially, this is becoming like a young people making awesome sake a, series, but actually, we’re going to be talking about Senkin today.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:15
Yes, this is another redemption story. Another forging, a new path. You could even say, uh, going against the grain. Couldn’t you.

John Puma: 2:28
Uh, well, we’ll find out later if they changed the entire brewing structure along with it, like Kid did. this is a brand that I’m very excited about. It’s another one of those brands that when it came out, it got a lot of hype behind. It got a lot of boutique kind of excitement and then came to the U.S. really fast.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:47

John Puma: 2:48
This was a, this was another exciting moment. When I walked up, at a tasting event and saw that they had a booth. I was like, why does Senkin and have a booth at this event? Are they coming today coming to the U S yes. So I was very excited.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:01
And you actually found this brand in a liquor store in Queens, New York. Is that right?

John Puma: 3:09
yes. There’s another, another tale of John’s local liquor store that sells excellent sake. Um, yeah, they carry a whole array of Senkin products,

Timothy Sullivan: 3:21
that’s great. So, John, do you want to get us started and tell us what you know about the background of this Brewery?

John Puma: 3:30
Well, uh, like you mentioned, earlier, another kind of redemption arc here, where you have the, you know, the, the young, essentially, younger, taking over and, uh going in a different direction.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:46

John Puma: 3:46
so yeah, this brewery is, a little bit older than, than Heiwa brewery was, I think. so 1806 for this one. and they’re located in a Tochigi where they are, I think the oldest brewery there.

Timothy Sullivan: 4:01

John Puma: 4:04
Yeah. I have people I know who will argue that Tochigi may be the best prefecture for sake. sake.

Timothy Sullivan: 4:10
Really, we got to have them on the show. We gotta,

John Puma: 4:13
I’m sure he’d be happy to,

Timothy Sullivan: 4:15
we gotta have a prefecture SmackDown.

John Puma: 4:17
Yamagata Yamagata versus Tochigi.

Timothy Sullivan: 4:22

John Puma: 4:23
Yes. so yeah, two brothers, took over the family business. The, at that point, 200 plus year family businesses. And just redid everything in their own, uh, in their own image, I guess. and they did it All around the concept of Acidity.

Timothy Sullivan: 4:43
All right. So two brothers and. I think one is the Kuramoto or the brewery president and the other one, the younger brother is the Toji. Is that right?

John Puma: 4:57
Yup. That’s exactly right. It’s like, uh, they’re they’re a one, two punch.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:03
Very cool.

John Puma: 5:04
Yeah. Yeah, and I think that like acidity and sake has become a really, uh, kind of hot topic and a trendy style. Probably. I want to say that Senkin is leading the charge on that, uh, at least to a certain extent, and they do a great job of kind of blending like tart and fruitiness with acidity and like, and giving you that really nice, like juicy punch, to the sake. Uh, and it’s often like the style is kind of often compared to like riesling, are you familiar rieslings?

Timothy Sullivan: 5:39
Not a whole lot. Definitely not a wine expert. Definitely not a wine expert over here, but.

John Puma: 5:45
No, I know I like riesling though, so I that’s, you know, that’s what I, what do I know about wine? As I know the kinds I like, and I know the kinds, I really didn’t like that much. And that’s about it. Sometimes I know where they’re from. That’s about it. That’s why we’re not doing a wine revolution.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:05
Or cider revolution.

John Puma: 6:10

Timothy Sullivan: 6:11
Well, can, can I tell you a little. About what I learned about the older brother.

John Puma: 6:18

Timothy Sullivan: 6:18
So this is, uh, his name is Kazuki Usui he’s actually the 11th generation since 1806. So he was set to take over. I read a few articles about his path to becoming the president and he wasn’t too thrilled about working in the sake industry. Initially, when he was younger, he went to college, but dropped out to study wine and he became a very dedicated wine sommelier. And in 2008, the brewery was literally like about to liquidate go close. And it was like the 11th hour, the place was going to shut down and he decided to come in with his wine background and develop a new. Totally fresh and different style of sake. And his wine background led him to a love of wines from Alsace and Germany,

John Puma: 7:16

Timothy Sullivan: 7:17
these high acid and sweeter white wines that we were just talking about. And he used that as inspiration. And he even calls the brewery. Now a domain. Have you heard that word in the wine world?

John Puma: 7:31
ha I hear that associated with wine. I usually, I usually, I see with the trailing E you know, the domain, it just makes you want to say it like it’s French.

Timothy Sullivan: 7:46
Well, my favorite domain is SakeRevolution.com. Um,

John Puma: 7:51
Oh, very nice. Very nice. Good plug. Good plug.

Timothy Sullivan: 7:56
Well, if there’s any wine experts out there listening, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think domain ties into producing the wine and the fruit on the same area of land. And they do that with their rice and water. Right.

John Puma: 8:15
Yeah, so apparently they, uh, this is really interesting. All of the rice fields that they use for their sake are within five minutes of the brewery, that’s not five miles Tim. That’s five minutes. I don’t know what mode of transportation we’re dealing with for five minutes, but I I’m going to, you know, give him a little bit of slack if it’s six minutes away. Uh, or they had some traffic, they got a stop light. I don’t know. But, that’s crazy by the way. Um, at least it seems that way to me.

Timothy Sullivan: 8:47
Yeah. For unusual, it’s very common for breweries to purchase rice from further away. Sometimes from prefectures away is quite common so that they’re committed to growing all the rice immediately around the brewery It shows how much they have really come to bring those wine industry norms into the sake. Really interesting.

John Puma: 9:13
Yeah, it is. It is, it is. they do it’s contract farming still, but it. Super close by. It’s like contract farming on your front lawn, essentially.

Timothy Sullivan: 9:23
That’s That’s amazing.

John Puma: 9:24
And I think as I mentioned earlier, they make, sake with locally grown Omachi, Yamadanishi and, uh, Kame no o, so very interesting stuff. Uh, and already, already really unusual in the way they’re doing it.

Timothy Sullivan: 9:38
yeah. So when we get to our tasting, we’re going to be looking for high acid.

John Puma: 9:44

Timothy Sullivan: 9:45
maybe a little bit sweeter overall.

John Puma: 9:48
right now. How, how high are we talking here? What’s normal. What’s a normal acidity.

Timothy Sullivan: 9:52
well, I would say the average acidity for sake in general in Japan is probably between 1.0 and 1.5. Acidity measuring scale. And we, when we get to the tasting, we can look at where a Senkin falls and for the sake meter value, uh, probably on the low plus side may be plus two, I would guess.

John Puma: 10:19
I think that we encounter. Yeah. Most of us not getting that we deal with and have gone with over the show over the shows, a 60, some odd episodes now, have been in that plus two plus Three. occasionally if we’re being crazy.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:34
So when we get to the tasting, we will look and see where we fall there. And we’re going to look for higher acid and sweeter profile for the sake meter valve.

John Puma: 10:45
That’s exciting. I’m not just saying that. Cause a tasting is my favorite part.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:52
So, John, I want to ask you, this is the second brand that we’ve looked at that has kind of taken a new path. It’s gotten a lot of attention in the media.

John Puma: 11:02

Timothy Sullivan: 11:02
And what do you think of that kind of diverging from the worn known traditional path and trying something like this?

John Puma: 11:13
Well, I think that just like with Heiwa and kid it’s necessary, I think that sake needs to evolve and change and, and it, Mavericks for lack of a better term, like this going out there and bringing different things to the table, going for broke in this case, you know, you mentioned that they were kind of on the verge and they went and did something risky here. That’s, that’s what sake I needs. It needs people who are going to think outside the box a little bit. They’re going to try some, some interesting things. And if it didn’t work. If it wasn’t like wildly successful, was it? If it wasn’t a great idea, we wouldn’t be talking about them Right. now because the company would be out of business.

Timothy Sullivan: 11:51
Right. Can you imagine put yourself in Kazuki Usui’s shoes, 11 generations of ancestors on your shoulders. And you’re like, I’m going to gamble on high acid sake. And I even read that his father tasted the first batch and the previous president tasted the first batch and gave him the thumbs down. Like, I don’t like this.

John Puma: 12:14
I actually heard, I’ve heard that story. And the, the best line of it was he told him his acidity meter was broken. And I will never forget that hearing that line. I was like, That’s that’s like a, that’s a burn. That’s like a really good.

Timothy Sullivan: 12:33
We have to give dad his props, the 10th, 10th generation president.

John Puma: 12:38
You know, having said that, his son had something there. Right. Hey, he made something great. And now, I think that not only did it save the company apparently, but it also changed the course of sake. This is now like high acid sake is a thing like it’s totally a legitimate, a sub genre of sake.

Timothy Sullivan: 12:59
And I think for me, it really boils down to diversity. A few breweries making high acid wine like sakes. It’s not going to take anything away from the other breweries that make super dry, super light, super fruity classic ginjo. This is something new and it brings diversity to the, to the plate. And I think that’s a good thing. You can still enjoy. All those traditional styles, but a few breweries coming out with something new, different innovative, I think is really fantastic. And the question we had with the Heiwa Shuzo episode also is when. Not become sake anymore. Like, you know, what are you in the bounds or out of the bounds and what are the laws in Japan? And perhaps we’ll see some changes or adjustments to the laws to allow for even more innovation of this nature. I think that would be a good thing.

John Puma: 13:57
I think so, too. Uh, even if you want to know, even if they want to label it in a different way or something like that, it’s fine. I think that that’s again, making sake a broader category is in everybody’s best interest, especially sake drinkers, where people who are potential sake drinkers,

Timothy Sullivan: 14:11
this type of innovation is also really good for sake beginners. If you try sake for the first time and you get your hands on one of these higher acid Senkin sakes, you may love it. You may hate it, but you’re not going to come in with any preconceived notions about what sake has to be. And so many old time old schoolers have their favorites and the types that they like and what they think sake is. So it’s a great way for beginners people just starting out with sake to get in and try something new. I think.

John Puma: 14:41
You’re telling me that this is not going to be embraced by The, Oyaji community. Is that what you’re telling me? I finally did it. I finally, I finally broke them.

Timothy Sullivan: 14:58

John Puma: 14:59

Timothy: 15:03
the Oyaji old man community is not going to get behind this.

John Puma: 15:11
I mean, maybe they should give it a shot. That’s all I’m saying. They might enjoy this. It’s really good. Um, but uh, there is a nod towards tradition in the sake That Senkin is making it. Uh, because all of it is still Genshu. is still Muroka. So these, you know, kind of older ideas and they’re just bringing some new things to the table to play with those ideas. I think that’s fun. I think that’s interesting.

Timothy Sullivan: 15:40
they’re definitely respecting the methods for sure. Everything I’ve read about them. They are super dedicated to traditional production methods. So they’re not. Abandoning sake production to make everything like wine, they’re using the influence of the wine industry, I think, to just affect the flavor and how can they work? Those sake production steps,

John Puma: 16:06
and, um, oh, I am. I forgot to ask earlier,

Timothy Sullivan: 16:09

John Puma: 16:10
Okay. Have you been to Senkin brewery in Tochigi

Timothy Sullivan: 16:16
Well, the answer again would be no, yes, I have not visited Tochigi and I have not visited Senkin Shuzo or as they call it Domain Senkin (com).

John Puma: 16:31
Is that your favorite domain? No.

Timothy Sullivan: 16:33
I’ll tell you, after the tasting.

John Puma: 16:35
I like it. I like it. Well, um, on that note, I think we should probably get onto the tasting

Timothy Sullivan: 16:41
Yes. John, would you like to introduce the stats for our, the sake? We are both tasting we’re tasting the same today, right?

John Puma: 16:51
I would absolutely love to Tim. Uh, today we are drinking the Senkin immortal wing, by the way. That’s, that’s the best that name’s amazing. I love that name. It’s a pretty good name, immortal wing, classic Kame no O. Junmai Daiginjo now everything that Senkin does is Junmai Daiginjo, that’s this is one of their production standards. It’s like, everything’s a Junmai Daiginjo everything. a muroka, everything is a genshu. the Rice type is called Kame no O, and Tim, this sake rice is super interesting and deserves an episode all about itself. And we’ll get to that at some other point. I don’t want to go too deep in the weeds on this, but, um, Rice polishing rate on the Koji Mai is 40% and on the kake mai of the starch component. You’re looking at 50%. So just like the kid, they’re doing a variance on the polishing rate for the two components, which is interest. the yeast is kind of a just Tochigi yeast, according to, in order to our chart here. Uh, and that’s talking meter value that, uh, you mentioned was going to be a little bit sweet is in fact, a little bit sweet at minus two.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:05
minus two. All right.

John Puma: 18:07
We rarely go negative here with, with our sake meter values. So that’s interesting. And here we go. The acidity Drum roll, please. This is an alarming 2.2.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:22
Wow. Okay. That’s higher than average for sure.

John Puma: 18:25
That’s that’s really high.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:28

John Puma: 18:30
alcohol is 15%, so that’s actually, you know, right. The right at the bottom of normal. I want to say. And this bottle was only introduced in, 2017. So really. Recent style, recent brand, really nice stuff.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:49
So John, I noticed it says it’s classic kame no O what’s up with the classic?

John Puma: 18:54
So Senkins immortal wing line comes in modern and classic varieties for each of the different rice types. So this is the classic Kame no O. There is also a modern Kame no O. Oh, okay.

Timothy Sullivan: 19:08
so it’s the same rice type, but they make kind of style it two different. Yeah.

John Puma: 19:12
Stylish two different ways. It’s the same yeast is the same polishing rate. It is just a matter of the brewing method.

Timothy Sullivan: 19:22

John Puma: 19:23

Timothy Sullivan: 19:24
So we’re going to be trying something from their classic line. All right.

John Puma: 19:28
And yeah, the classic line, uh, it’s supposed to be a little bit more. A little more umami action going on, which makes sense, right. A little more umami makes sense. when you’re saying classic, that makes me think a little bit more classic, and the modern is a little bit more of that. A little bit, even more of that tartness and acidity.

Timothy Sullivan: 19:47
Hm. Well, I’m super, I’m super interested to try this. Another thing. The label tells me on the front is that the rice is grown locally from pure spring water. That’s the must be the brewing water we talked about and harvested by hand unfiltered and matured in bottle. So that means no charcoal filtering and aged in bottle.

John Puma: 20:12
Yeah. Yeah.

Timothy Sullivan: 20:13
let’s should we get it open?

John Puma: 20:15
I think that’s a great, now, since this is aged in bottle bottle, I’m not going to be too surprised if we hear a little something, something when we open this. Yep. So Tim, how. Clear you want to say this is

Timothy Sullivan: 20:39
Hmm, there’s a mist,

John Puma: 20:42
very, very lightly,

Timothy Sullivan: 20:43
there’s a mist, right?

John Puma: 20:44
bit, very tiny bit. And it’s slightly very, very slightly yellow.

Timothy Sullivan: 20:49
I couldn’t even call it a haze really, but

John Puma: 20:51
No, no. It’s in fact it’s, as it sits in my glass, it’s actually getting a lot clearer. I think maybe that some of that missed is, is kind of going to the surface. Ooh, that nose is nice though. Okay.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:07
It’s rich and,

John Puma: 21:10
of promises, acidity

Timothy Sullivan: 21:12
and it’s, it smells fruity. Hm. Now would you, would you, I know you and I are not wine experts by any stretch, but would you describe this as a wine? Like aroma?

John Puma: 21:27
A little bit, I actually had a riesling last weekend, so it’s like fresh on my mind. Um, but the, the recently I had, smelled much more tart than this.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:40
but this is kind of a step in that direction. Don’t you?

John Puma: 21:43
Oh yeah.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:45
Hmm, very lovely aroma. It’s soft. It’s um, fruity.

John Puma: 21:51
It’s very, very, very nice. This is going to be the weirdest aroma description I think I’ve ever given, but it’s kind of soothing to me. It’s very nice.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:04
Hm. All right, well, let’s give it a taste. Senkin classic Kame no o Junmai Daiginjo. Well,

John Puma: 22:16
you like that acidity?

Timothy Sullivan: 22:18
like it. It’s not as off the charts as I was thinking, it would be in my mind, like I was preparing myself. I also had, I had a German sparkling wine recently from the falls region, which is this area of Germany that produces this, uh, the style they were talking about and that had insane amounts of acidity compared to this. So I can see this being inspired by that, but we’re not getting to those true German Riesling acidity levels.

John Puma: 22:49
No, like this

Timothy Sullivan: 22:50
it’s still a

John Puma: 22:51
ver. Yeah, exactly. Right. It still still tastes very much like sake. It tastes like really, really good sake. actually. Um, it’s really well balanced. I think the sweetness. Is somehow tricking me into thinking it’s not as acidic as it

Timothy Sullivan: 23:07
Hmm. Yeah. You know, we can pick up best on acidity on the sides of our tongue. Like if you’ve ever bite into a lemon wedge and you feel the prickliness on the sides of your tongue, that’s where a lot of. Acidity receptors are. If you let this kind of sit on your palate and linger, you can feel that the hint of acidity that’s there really nice.

John Puma: 23:34
Yeah, there’s a really, really nice mouthfeel on this as

Timothy Sullivan: 23:38

John Puma: 23:39
It’s got a little bit of that, that, that, you know, aged in bottle suggestion of effervescence. Like it’s not bubbling, but when it’s on your tongue, you’re kind of feeling that like it, it’s got a little bit of action still.

Timothy Sullivan: 23:53

John Puma: 23:54
And that’s really nice. It’s got a nice dance to it. I guess you

Timothy Sullivan: 23:57
Usually the, the super crisp drier sakes tend to disappear off your palate immediately. And this kind of. Coats the palate a little more, and it’s a, it feels a little bit broader on the palate and, um, just a thicker texture as well. That

John Puma: 24:15
no, this sticks, this sticks

Timothy Sullivan: 24:16
were mentioning, it sticks

John Puma: 24:19
it definitely sticks around. it lingers a bit.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:21
Yep. But you know, for all the high acidity and the, uh, more residual sugar, the alcohol is still only 15%. So it’s not like they’re bringing in some super high alcohol content here to kinda knock you over. They’re really letting the acidity and the sugar come out. I think by keeping that alcohol low.

John Puma: 24:47
probably, I think that if it was higher, it would be a little, again, a little bit of, it would be out of balance.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:52

John Puma: 24:53
This is really nicely balanced. This makes me think of, and I know I mentioned this in the past. It was probably the other time I had one of their sakes on the show. but circus peanuts, uh, the, the, the, those like, um, marshmallow those like orange-ish marshmallow candy.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:12
Yes. Something tells me that those are not preservative free and vegan friendly.

John Puma: 25:17
I’m going to say they’re not. Um, I, in fact, I would, I would guarantee they’re not, um, not that I’m in a position to make that guarantee, But um, it’s a safe bet. How’s that?

Timothy Sullivan: 25:26
But I, I know exactly what you mean. I ate them as a kid and I think that anyone who’s not American is probably going to have to Google it.

John Puma: 25:37
There. It’s not like they’re great. or anything. You’re not missing out. If you’re not an American who didn’t have these, but it’s just something very distinctive. And I’m getting that out of this on kind of mostly on the finish, especially if I let it linger on the tongue

Timothy Sullivan: 25:49
Hmm. Yeah.

John Puma: 25:53
circus peanuts guys.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:55
Well, it, I think that speaks to you. The little bit of the sugariness the concentration of the residual sugar that candied a little bit of a candied note to it. And, uh, that comes through in those German and Alsace wines as well. You get that kind of rich coating, sweetness and high acidity to balance that out. It’s so interesting to see how they’re bringing these concepts into the world of sake. But still keeping it sake. Like this is not so off the charts crazy that you’re like, what is this?

John Puma: 26:31

Timothy Sullivan: 26:32
But, uh, it’s a fine line that I think you have to walk to stay in the world of sake, but really bring something new and super different.

John Puma: 26:41
Yeah. like for the record, everybody, this would not be, I imagine, uh, in the opinion of my wife, this would not be crazy style, it is, is quite sane, is just a little bit high in acidity, but I think, you know, for me, the, the balancing act and like the exciting thing about this sake is that it is so high in acidity, but balanced so well that it’s not overwhelming you with how acidic. And that’s a Testament to the craftsmanship, I think, I think that whenever we have something that has one of these weird stats on it, and we look at it and we’re like, wow, this is going to be so bonkers. And we taste them. No, it’s actually makes perfect sense. Like that’s a Testament to how well these guys are making this

Timothy Sullivan: 27:27
yeah. So one thought that just occurred to me, like if you’re a beginner getting into sake, you know, we love to get new people into sake and make it easy for people to understand and get into it when these new. Niche styles come out. Do you think it makes learning about sake, more confusing for people or hard to navigate as a beginner?

John Puma: 27:52
I mean, it probably does make it a little bit more complicated, but imagine you’re a fan of this kind of wine and somebody’s like, oh, there’s this sake you should try. And you’re like, well, I don’t know about sake, well, blah, blah, blah. I’ve had it before. And it tastes like rice and blah, blah, blah. But then you taste this and you’re like, wait a minute. This is a sake for me.

Timothy Sullivan: 28:15

John Puma: 28:16
yeah. This is a great, an entryway for people who like those types of wine to experience sake that’s right up their alley.

Timothy Sullivan: 28:26
That’s such a great point. It can act as a bridge and you know, the wine world is super confusing. People. Don’t talk about that as much as they should. The wine world is super confusing. And if you want to find your way, you have to study a little bit, talk to your friends who know what they’re doing. And I think the sake world’s becoming that even more. Now, there’s all these different varieties. One of the biggest misconceptions I think about sake is that it’s just one thing. People sake at once and they write it off. I’m never having that again, but we’re getting to the diversity and the nuance that there is. I think there’s a sake for every person out there.

John Puma: 29:06
I want there to be for certain. That’s, that would be a great thing to have a sake out there for literally every type of beverage fan.

Timothy Sullivan: 29:16

John Puma: 29:17

Timothy Sullivan: 29:19
Well, we’ll see that happen.

John Puma: 29:22
For you, um, you know, I recall from our episode about your aha moments and you’re kind of getting into sake, was there anything that bridged for you or was it just like a completely unique experience?

Timothy Sullivan: 29:36
For me, there was no bridge in sight. It was the shock of the new, it was like a shock to my system.

John Puma: 29:44

Timothy Sullivan: 29:45
it, it didn’t compute in my brain. That’s what shocked me into loving sake. It’s like, this is fantastic. And I don’t know what I’m tasting. I don’t know how I got here. What’s going on? And I have to learn more about this. So for me, it was not at all that gentle, easing into sake. It was like jumping into the deep end and getting shocked by it. And, you know, I luckily had a sake that was delicious and it shocked me in a good way, but I can see people having their first experience and getting shocked in a bad way. If it’s something they don’t like. And then, that may not be so good. So, uh, yeah, but for me it was just like, does not compute. Must learn more.

John Puma: 30:31
Nice. Nice. Based on our experience here today, uh, those Tochigi go on the bucket list.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:39
I say hell yeah,

John Puma: 30:40
Okay, and a visit to Senkin. Is that something that, uh, that you want to make happen now?

Timothy Sullivan: 30:46
absolutely. We’re inviting ourselves everywhere.

John Puma: 30:49
Yeah, Yeah. We’re working like that. Um,

Timothy Sullivan: 30:52
Yeah, no, I would love to. Senkin and talk to the brothers. Usui

John Puma: 30:58
Yes, yeah, I, I started dropping that I really love brewery. T-shirts also, hopefully if we will get an invite, we’ll get an invites and t-shirts,

Timothy Sullivan: 31:06
you’re encourageable.

John Puma: 31:08
I know I’m awful. Um, but, nonetheless, Yeah. I, uh, I really like what these guys are doing. I really like what this is all about. And the sake is wonderful, uh, even though not the biggest wine drinker in the world, but Hey, this is really good stuff.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:26

John Puma: 31:26

Timothy Sullivan: 31:27
well, we’re both tasting their classic style. So some point in the future, we have to revisit with their modern style and see what that’s all about.

John Puma: 31:37
Absolutely. And we should do a little compare and contrast. I think that would be a lot of fun. Well sip of each one, like same rice, same milling, same yeast. And then we just play around with the different styles and see what we think about each one. That’ll be an in-person episode.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:52
Yeah. Classic versus modern.

John Puma: 31:54
Yeah. that, that sounds like a lot of fun.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:57
Yeah. But I think this episode was a good introduction. We got the whole background story, the origin story

John Puma: 32:03

Timothy Sullivan: 32:05
for the brothers Usui.

John Puma: 32:06
Yeah. Yeah, and it’s, it’s, it’s a great, it’s another one of those feel good stories about, you know, people coming in with new ideas and changing the course of these breweries for the better and, and making some great stuff, not that long ago, we, interviewed the Miho Fujita who had a very similar. Um, you know, where her or her father came into the brewery and it was, it was in a bad place. And then she came started working there and was like, oh my God, what have I done? And, and now, you know, now they’re making great sake that people all over the world love, and it’s a completely different style than this and a completely different style from kid, which is

Timothy Sullivan: 32:47

John Puma: 32:48
company they’re, really they’re expanding sake. They’re making it broader.

Timothy Sullivan: 32:54
Yeah. It goes to show you. There’s not one answer to the problem of how to revive the sake industry. It’s everything. Every individual has their own answer. And the people that take action are really making it happen. So my hat goes off to these brewers that are reviving their, their family breweries and their local breweries and making it happen. It’s just a really what we need more of, I think for sure.

John Puma: 33:20
I agree, they all have their own answers and the best part. They’re all right.

Timothy Sullivan: 33:24

John Puma: 33:25
There’s more than one answer. That’s the best thing about it.

Timothy Sullivan: 33:28
Y’all John. This is great. Great tasting with you again. And I want to thank all of our listeners as well for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying our show. If you’d like to show your support for Sake Revolution, the best way you can help us out would be to back us on Patreon. That’s right, John and I have started a Patreon so we have two levels of support. The first one is $5 a month. And for that, you can join us live and on zoom for our monthly Sake Revolution sake happy hour. This happens the first Wednesday of every month.

John Puma: 34:06
And, um, we’re there chitchatting, we’re answering questions and we’re sipping the what’s left of the bottles that we had the month prior. And it’s a whole lot of fun. Um, usually people have really great questions. A lot of behind the scenes stories, a lot of, uh, how the sausage gets made. I want to say. It’s been great to kind of interact with. With the people who helped make the show possible.

Timothy Sullivan: 34:33
And our $3 level gets you the inside Intel. And we’ll post on Patreon two weeks in advance, letting you know which sakes, we’re going to be tasting. If you want to purchase them in advance and drink along with us. When you listen to the episode. Yeah.

John Puma: 34:47
That’s right. But there are other ways to support our show. You can also get on your podcast platform of choice and give us a review, a reviews on places like apple podcasts really still make a huge difference. And it really, really, really does help us. Uh, and while you’re at it, getting people interested in our show, make sure you tell a friend and tell your family and, the family, friends, and family, dog, um, and also get them all to subscribe this way. You don’t miss any episodes.

Timothy Sullivan: 35:22
And as always to learn more about any of the topics or sakes we talked about in today’s episode, be sure to visit our website. My favorite domain, SakeRevolution.com for all the detailed show notes.

John Puma: 35:35
And if you have a sake question that you need answered, we want to hear from you. If you want to know why Tim’s favorite domain, isn’t UrbanSake.com. I did it again. Please reach out to us the email address as always is [email protected]. until next time, please remember to keep drinking sake like you’re ever gonna forget and Kanpai!, I got You, laughing. This was great.

Timothy Sullivan: 36:12
You, got me this week. You got me!