Episode 119 Show Notes
Episode 119 This week we welcome sake expert Jessica Joly to the podcast to introduce us to this very special trio of sakes all from Saga Prefecture. The breweries are all different and distinct, but they have collaborated to create a set of three bottles with a unique branding and flavor story you won’t see anywhere else. First, from Koimari Brewery, we have the Tropical Junmai Daiginjo which uses the silhouette of a pineapple on the label to communicate it’s fruity aroma and flavor. Next, the Crisp Junmai Daiginjo from Mitsutake Brewery has an illustration of an octopus to signify the crisp, clean flavors and water like minerality. Last but not least, the Yano Brewery has crafted a 5-year-aged Junmai Kimoto sake that uses an outline of a mushroom to project its deep umami flavors. The packaging on the whole set is beautiful and a fun way to communicate the range you can enjoy from Saga sake. Also, Jessica gives us the lowdown on an upcoming Saga sake event Happening Sept 19, 2022 at Sakagura in NYC. Listen in to hear the whole saga! #SakeRevolution
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Born to a Japanese mother and an American father, America’s first “Miss Sake USA” Jessica Joly is no stranger to navigating multiple cultures. Moving between Japan and California at a young age, she developed an appreciation and knack for how to understand, navigate, and bridge cultural divides. Developing a love for Japanese food, drink and culture from her early years in Tokyo, Ms. Joly hoped to share this once she moved to New York, and naturally found a home in the hospitality industry in NYC. She has since gained impressive experience from both classic and contemporary establishments including Soba Totto, Bohemian, SakaMai, Ippudo, Patisserie Tomoko and Tokyo Record Bar. She currently is the Marketing Director for Sake Discoveries which spreads sake awareness through events, branding and education.
Koimari Tropical Junmai Daiginjo
Brewery: Koimari Shuzo
Classification: Junmai Daiginjo
Rice Type: Miyamanishiki
Brand: Saga Sake
Yeast: Kyokai 1801
View on UrbanSake.com:
Mitsutake Crisp Junmai Daiginjo
Brewery: Mitsutake Shuzo
Classification: Junmai Daiginjo
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki
Brand: Saga Sake
Yeast: Kyokai 1801, 901
View on UrbanSake.com:
Yano Umami Kimoto Junmai Koshu
Brewery: Yano Shuzo
Classification: Kimoto Junmai Koshu
Rice Type: Kita Shizuku
Brand: Saga Sake
Yeast: Kyokai 701
View on UrbanSake.com:
SAGA SAKE TASTING EVENT! Saga Bar Pop Up at Sakagura – Taste Saga Sake & Shochu with 5 Kuramotos –
Date and time
Mon, September 19, 2022. 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
211 43rd Street #B1
New York, NY 10017
Join us for a meet and greet sake tasting featuring five sake Kuramotos (sake producers): Amabuki, Azumaichi, Koimari, Mitsutake and Yano Brewery. We will be serving over ten different kinds of sake and 3 kinds of Mizu Shochu from Saga prefecture along side food by Executive Chef Yuval Litmanovich of Sakagura.
Each guests that attends with receive a special Arita Porcelain sake cup as a gift. Each one is unique with different designs, guests can select one that they would like to keep.
We are looking forward to seeing you at SAKAGURA Midtown!
If you are near NYC, Join us at this fun Saga Sake event:
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Episode 119 Transcript
John Puma: 0:21
Hello everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s very first sake podcast. And I’m your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes. Also the internet sake discord guy, the Reddit r/slash sake guy and around these parts, um, the sake enthusiast.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:41
And I’m your host Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai 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. So, John, you know, we’ve done Saga sake before on this podcast, we did a whole episode on Saga
John Puma: 1:02
we do, we do, we are big fans of Saga sake, but, but not the biggest, apparently there are bigger fans of saga sake and we’re gonna, we’re gonna get to what that means in a moment.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:15
Yeah, I, I heard there’s this project happening with like breweries, collabing and promoting Saga sake and I don’t know enough about it. So I think it’s important. We bring in the big guns
John Puma: 1:25
important to have a subject matter expert on the show
Timothy Sullivan: 1:29
I wanna introduce our expert for today. We are so happy to welcome onto the show. Jessica Joly, who is a sake sommelier. She is miss sake USA, and she is also the director of marketing at Sake Discoveries. So Jessica, welcome to the Show
Jessica Joly: 1:49
Timothy Sullivan: 1:50
Jessica Joly: 1:51
Hi sensei. Hi, John. It’s an honor be featured on Sake Revolution. Uh, obviously I’ve been waiting for my star moment. So here.
John Puma: 2:00
well, well, this has been a really long time coming, Jess. It’s great to have you on here.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:04
Yeah. So can you tell us how you got into sake and maybe a little bit about your work with Sake Discoveries?
Jessica Joly: 2:12
Absolutely. My first interaction with sake was as a bartender at this restaurant in New York City. Over 10 years ago. Um, as somebody who, you know, was just kind of the party girl in college, I guess you can call it discovered sake because I worked at a Japanese restaurant and they had told me you’d never had sake before. And I was like, no, although I’m Japanese American. And then tasted sake for the first time, specifically Nanbu Bijin Daiginjo and just blew my mind. And I was just like, what is this amazing beverage? I need to learn more about it, especially because I felt a connection to my historical roots being Japanese. That was really my, what if moment in 10 years has passed? I, like you mentioned was, gifted this title inaugural Ms. USA. Who’s given me an ambassador program. But now I currently work at sake discoveries with Chizuko Niikawa-Helton, um, and my role there is really to develop and strategize and coordinate, and execute events. So it’s been really exciting, working with different kind of tech companies, a lot of banks, and really to educate sake. So it’s been a really exciting journey here in New York, and really just spreading sake awareness. So I would say it’s definitely a niche market, but it’s thriving.
John Puma: 3:37
Nice. That’s great. now, getting right into the, this particular project and what we’re talking about today, the, the Saga Sake project. How did this whole thing come together? And how does this work?
Jessica Joly: 3:48
This whole project, the Saga Sake has been very interesting because we actually started it the first round during COVID. Working with the Saga Prefecture to actively promote the Saga brands. So you guys probably are familiar with brands like Amabuki and Shichida and Azumaichi. That was the first initial round over two years ago. And then last year we got an opportunity to bring these new brands that want to have placement here in the U.S.. so we started by, selecting nine different breweries, and then eliminated it down to five breweries based on interviews, how their quality and control their sake, the philosophy and what interests they have in the us market. So we eventually, picked these three that we are now featuring.
John Puma: 4:39
You guys actually had like involvement with the selection and, how this whole thing worked out. That’s fantastic.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:45
So it’s a set of three sakes from three different makers and they’re all from Saga Prefecture, and they’re kind of introduced as a set. Can you tell us anything unique about this set or how did you brand it or what can people look for when they wanna look for these three sakes from Saga?
Jessica Joly: 5:05
This collaborative collection of three sakes is unique because typically you see brewers branding. Within their own production, right. Within each brewery. But these are all made by three different breweries. So we have first Koimari brewery. Then we have Mitsutake brewery and Yano brewery. but when you look at the set, you’ll notice the unique design, the labels. And so that was something that we really wanted to involve in the U.S. Market because we wanted it to be able to be accessible for the consumer. So when you see it, you’ll see the label the the feeling that’s or the motion, the aromas or flavor, characteristics of that style of sake. So that is super, super cool. I hope that the viewers can one day find these bottles and say, Hey, that’s Saga sake.
John Puma: 5:59
Yeah, for our listeners at home, the show notes will feature pictures of each bottle. We realize that, you know, it is a little bit of an audio podcast and it’s hard to do that, but we do have photos for you guys to see these labels are amazing looking. They are really wonderful. we like to talk about sake labels and making sake more accessible, for the Western audience. And I think these do a really great job of that. Tim, what do you think.
Timothy Sullivan: 6:22
Yeah, absolutely. So it’s, it’s interesting cuz the labels are all visually connected, but it’s three different breweries and that’s not usually the case. So it’s a really unique coordination between breweries the Prefecture and marketing to. A U.S. audience and, the labels one has an octopus on it. One has a pineapple and one has a mushroom and you really have to check the show notes to see these labels because they are so creatively designed.
John Puma: 6:55
Jessica Joly: 6:56
Absolutely. One thing I wanna add too, is that when you touch the labels, they are actually embossed. So if you look closely they’re small rice grains built out into the full label design, um, but you can touch them. So it has a very sensory experience.
John Puma: 7:12
Timothy Sullivan: 7:14
That’s beautiful. So the little rice grains make up the outline of the octopus or the pineapple or the mushroom, and it’s on a black background. So it really pops and it’s very visual and the bottle colors are different as well, too. So it makes a very striking set. When you see the three bottles together.
Jessica Joly: 7:33
Exactly exactly sensei. right.
John Puma: 7:37
All right. Well, we. Talk a little bit about all of this. And I think we had to get to my personal favorite part of the show, the part we actually taste the sake and talk about it. so, which one are we gonna start with?
Jessica Joly: 7:48
Yes. So I suggest starting with Koimari brewery. So this is the black bottle with the label of the pineapple, which. Personally, one of my favorites, right. Everybody, especially in the summertime, we want something that’s a little bit more fruit forward. I mean, what do you think of when you see a pineapple
John Puma: 8:11
Timothy Sullivan: 8:13
Yeah, I think of those tropical breezes. That’s what I think of.
Jessica Joly: 8:17
Exactly. Exactly. And so when you look on the label, you’ll also notice that each bottle has a Japanese kanji. So this one is called “kudamono”, which translates to fruit, right? So it ties the fact in this is gonna be a little bit more fruit forward.
Timothy Sullivan: 8:35
So whether you speak English, Japanese, or no language at all, you can either see the pineapple. There’s the word? Tropical here or the kanji for fruit. So you’ve got all the bases covered.
Jessica Joly: 8:47
Absolutely. And you know, these days everybody has their phone, they can take a photo it’s super Instagram worthy.
Timothy Sullivan: 8:54
Yeah. Oh, that’s a great point. Yeah.
Jessica Joly: 8:57
it just speaks to everyone, you know, and you wanna bring a bottle to somebody’s house. This is exactly that. So as you can imagine, I mean, my favorite part. Drinking sake is tasting it. So we have to really enjoy this tropical aroma here that
Timothy Sullivan: 9:13
Yes. So before we taste, before we taste, do you want to introduce us a little bit to Koimari shuzo? Tell us about the brewery that makes this tropical one?.
Jessica Joly: 9:23
Yes. So Koimari brewery was established in 1909. So it’s fairly new. the, president is a female producer, Kimoko Maeda, and she is the fourth generation president. And there’s only about 10 people working at the brewery, which is awesome. I, I know it’s, it’s fairly tight group. Um, and one of the kind of interesting historical references is that they used to be a kimono house. So they, they don’t have like, you know, I was like, can you show me some of the kimonos? But previously before many generations, they used to sell kimonos and was like, you know what? We need to start making sake. So that’s why they transitioned in the early 19 hundreds to start making sake. And here they are. and if you are familiar with the region of saga, you may notice the word “Ko-Imari”. So “imari”, as we know, um, is used for the ceramic and pottery terms. Imari, there’s a town that’s famous for that. And “ko-” signifies old Imari, uh, which is where the brewery gets its name. So basically it’s signifying the old town of Imari.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:31
All right. Well, let’s get this tropical Junmai Daiginjo in the glass
Jessica Joly: 10:38
Timothy Sullivan: 10:40
And this is where we do our little ASMR pour, so we’ve all got the. Koimari Tropical Junmai Daiginjo in our glass. And Jessica, if you’ll allow me, I have some of the stats here for our listeners, it’s a Junmai Daiginjo grade and the rice that they use is Omachi. I know John’s a big fan of Omachi sake, rice it’s polished all the way down to 50% and the SMV is -1. and we have a acidity of 1.5. Yeah. So those are some great stats to kind of orient us as we go in and, and taste this. So let’s give it a smell. First.
Jessica Joly: 11:24
Timothy Sullivan: 11:28
I smell the pineapple. Is it the power? We always debate this is it the power of suggestions, but I do smell pineapple and tropical fruits for
John Puma: 11:36
definitely have the tropical fruits there.
Jessica Joly: 11:38
absolutely. I maybe even some mango.
John Puma: 11:41
Jessica Joly: 11:41
John Puma: 11:43
Timothy Sullivan: 11:44
And melon and
Jessica Joly: 11:45
John Puma: 11:46
is, this is the fruit bomb, Tim.
Jessica Joly: 11:48
This is, this is it’s giving me beach vibes.
John Puma: 11:52
Uh, this is wonderful. I love the aroma on this.
Jessica Joly: 11:56
It’s so good. And it’s also one of those things, you know, that you can really get a, a big floral essence and it it’s just, it’s so soothing and it’s, it’s so beautiful.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:08
It’s soft as well. You know, there’s no sharpness to the aroma at all. It’s, uh, tropical fruits, again, the pineapple melon mango. And this is definitely a case where the label matches the sake perfectly. like you are getting those tropical vibes from smelling this. All right. Let’s give it a taste.
Jessica Joly: 12:34
And I also like to point out, because it is so fruity, a larger vessel for drinking. Like I think Tim and I, right now we’re enjoying it in a beautiful, big wine glass, you know, because it really heightens the aroma. So that definitely helps, bring out those beautiful tropical fruit notes.
John Puma: 12:54
Oh, wow, this is definitely one of those cases where the aroma is. Accurately representing what you’re gonna be tasting. that tropical fruit’s right up front, there is that kind of that rich, uh, Omachi note that’s in there that that’s kind of like accompanying the fruit and it’s, it’s a wonderful combination. I’m a huge fan of the sake.
Timothy Sullivan: 13:15
Yeah, it gives it some depth and some foundation, the, the, the rice selection. But I do have to mention the thing that hit me when I sipped on it was. The, the sweetness is there too. Like, this is not a super dry sake, SMV minus one. And there’s just that layer, just a note of sweetness, which you expect when you smell those tropical notes like pineapple and melon, you expect a hint of sweetness there. And, uh, it’s very well integrated and balanced, but it does have just that, that hint of summery sweetness on the, on the mid palate. Do, you guys think so?
Jessica Joly: 13:53
John Puma: 13:54
Yeah, it, it goes to towards the, the balance of the sake as well. It just, everything just really comes together really nicely. And I think you need all those components to make it work as well as it does.
Jessica Joly: 14:05
Right. And I also think, because it’s so juicy, there’s nice balanced acidity. Like you mentioned it, it’s not overly sweet, you know, it’s, it really kind of rounds out, which makes it super food friendly. So it’s very, very accessible. Okay.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:23
Yeah. Speaking of food, friendly, any, pairing recommendations you like with this tropical one?
Jessica Joly: 14:28
When we think about fruity styles, I think everyone automatically thinks, oh, let’s have a fruit punch or a fruit salad. But for us, when we’ve tasted this sake, it actually pairs really, really well with like, some something spicy or salty. so try, um, like a nice pork fois gras pate, right? We’re we’re going really fine dining
John Puma: 14:52
don’t have one of those handy, but I’ll try.
Jessica Joly: 14:55
But the saltiness really comes out. Um, and then the fruitiness, it really goes hand in hand or like, um, roast beef, right. Something that you can easily make at home. Um, the floral notes. And if you have some herbs like Sage or Rosemary, those kind of, uh, herbacious notes with tropical kind of go hand in hand, And actually, even some tuna, funny enough, you think tuna has a little bit more of a richer flavor for fish. Um, but the, again, that fruitiness really compliments, um, the juicy tuna. So go, go, go get some sashimi tuna for dinner tonight.
John Puma: 15:33
I’m on it.
Timothy Sullivan: 15:34
Yeah, I love, I love that tropical and fruity connection. Like if you have a cheeseboard and there’s like a funky cheese on there, what do they have right next to it? They have grapes and little slices of fruit and you nibble on something salty and funky and then a bite of something. Fruity it it’s a wonderful, sweet and savory combination.
Jessica Joly: 15:55
Yes. I couldn’t agree more. I think about even blue cheese with some grapes or cranberries, you know, those kinda
Timothy Sullivan: 16:03
Yeah. All right. Awesome. So that was a fabulous start, that was our Koimari tropical Junmai Daiginjo fabulous. We have two more to go for this amazing saga sake set. Jessica, what is the second sake from the set we’re gonna taste?
Jessica Joly: 16:20
So let’s pull out Mitsutake crisp. This bottle is the blue bottle. So when you look at the color blue, especially for a bottle of sake to me, I start, imagining water. Right because it’s so clean, so pure. so that’s exactly the image that we were going for. And Mitsutake crisp, emphasizes. We’ve translated it into “Umi”, which means, ocean. So when we think about the ocean and crisp, this sake is gonna be clean and crisp.
Timothy Sullivan: 16:56
Yeah. And I’ve got the label here, Jess, and I’m like touching the label and I can feel the little rice greens, just like you said, it’s got that texture on it. It’s amazing.
Jessica Joly: 17:03
It does. It does. And again, we want people to enjoy that the label is so thoughtfully designed, and really it’s making sake accessible. Right? That’s what Sake Revolution is doing. That’s what we are doing as sake discoveries, but we want new generations, social media, people to be Instagramming. It, people to be talking about it and who doesn’t love a good octopus design, right? I mean,
Timothy Sullivan: 17:27
Yeah. Right. So what can you tell us about the Mitsutake Shuzo? The brewery that makes us crisp one
Jessica Joly: 17:33
Yes. So Mitsutake brewery was established in 1688 and the current president is in its 14th generation. Hiroyuki Mitsutake. and one of the things I thought was very interesting is that they use table eating rice. Yume Shizuku for this bottle, and the philosophy is innovation from tradition. So I find that they’re very experimental in that, for instance, they’re using this classic table eating rice for this sake, which is kind of unheard of. and it can be quite challenging, but they’re able to take that risk, and they’re a little bit of a bigger producer. They have over a hundred employees.
John Puma: 18:16
So 10 times as much as the previous
Jessica Joly: 18:18
exactly. So, you know, the fact that they are using tabulating rice and kind of taking those adventure steps, not only are they making sake, in fact, they’re making other products like shochu and gin and plum sake. So in a sense, they’re able to play with a little bit more and be a little bit more experimental.
John Puma: 18:38
All right. I’m gonna quickly run through the, uh, stats on this bottle. much like the previous one. It is also a Junmai Daiginjo, the rice here, the, Koji is a Yamada Nishiki and the Kakemai is, as Jess had mentioned, the Yume Shizuku, polished down to 50% of their original size. alcohol by volume here is 15%. We have 1.4 acidity and the sake meter value is an even zero zero.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:05
Okay. So I’m gonna go ahead and pour the crisp into my glass. This is again, another Junmai Daiginjo.
John Puma: 19:13
We’re spoiled today, Tim.
Jessica Joly: 19:15
yes. two Junmai Daiginjos back to back.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:19
All right, we’ve got it in the glass and I’m gonna give it a smell.
John Puma: 19:24
Timothy Sullivan: 19:26
Very different from the tropical. This one is much more reserved. Quiet.
John Puma: 19:31
very much. So there’s some fainted fruit, but it’s very restrained, especially in comparison to the, the previous, uh, fruit bomb that we had had, but also very, very nice. I like the subtlety it’s going on here.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:45
Yeah. I smell also just a hint of, uh, rice, but again, very subtle, very restrained, super clean aroma
John Puma: 19:53
for me, it’s presenting more like the sweet rice, but that’s probably because I’m getting a little bit of fruit on it too. And fruit and rice. So sweet rice.
Jessica Joly: 20:00
Yeah, I believe there’s like subtle steam rice notes and maybe even a little hint of citrus, like a tiny hint,
John Puma: 20:09
I think I understand what, yeah, I get that.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:11
Yeah, but it’s really quiet, really restraints. So people who like those clean really pure styles of sake, I think are gonna love this one. Okay. Let’s give it a taste. Oh, yeah.
John Puma: 20:29
Tim. This is like right up your alley.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:30
this yeah. Well, the previous one was John’s style of sake. This one is my style. Yeah, for sure. So the, the citrus, John, can you taste it?
John Puma: 20:39
It’s there, definitely there on the Palate. it presents a little bit for me, uh, a little bit upfront and just that it’s so this is very, um, despite being crisp. It’s very smooth and very easy drinking, dangerous, dangerously, easy drinking.
Jessica Joly: 20:55
More like water,
John Puma: 20:57
Timothy Sullivan: 20:59
Jessica Joly: 21:00
I think there’s also a really nice mineral finish too. Like you said, it’s we wanted something that was very iconic and easy to recognize. So like you mentioned, it’s, it’s quite opposite from Koimari. So Mitsutake is just gonna be mineral clean, crisp, straight to the point. So it really hits all the marks.
John Puma: 21:23
Yeah, I like this one a lot, a lot more than a lot more than one would think I would like it given my. Given my past, this is much more, more of a Tim sake, but I’m all about it.
Jessica Joly: 21:34
this is, this is very much a Tim sake, Tim.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:37
Yeah, very easy drinking. And you know, I want to talk about the texture for a second too, because this is SMV zero, and that as our frequent listeners know means that the density of the sake is the same as pure water. So this has that water, like texture to it, and it compliments the flavor so well, really, and the finish is clean. So for people who like, again, those clean, crisp styles, this is really. Exactly what you want. Now, when I ask about food pairings, I don’t have to ask that much because it’s right on the label, right? The octopus, the poor octopus is the pairing. Isn’t
Jessica Joly: 22:16
it? really, you know what we wanted you to enjoy him, but also eat him as well.
John Puma: 22:24
well, then that explains a
Timothy Sullivan: 22:25
well, besides octopus, uh, any other, any other pairings you like
Jessica Joly: 22:29
mean, you know, I think, again, this hits all the boxes in the fact that it can be super versatile. You can start all the way from something light as a seaweed salad or a nice light carppachio. Obviously, even if it’s not octopus, fluke, any kind of white fish sushi, obviously sashimi or even grilled. Or fried fish. I mean, I think you could even do something that’s like a green vegetable that tends to be a little bit more bitter. Um, because like you said, it has that nice texture, like artichoke, I think grilled artichoke or something like that would be wonderful
John Puma: 23:08
The nice thing about being in this, like this crisp, um, category and being a little bit similar, at least in my mind when I’m tasting it a little bit, reminds me a little bit of a lot of like Niigata style sake is that it is so versatile with food and you can put almost anything in front of a sake like this, and it’s going to really have a great, um, a great effect.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:27
Yeah, and I love what you said about the, the bitter green vegetables. Cuz when I lived in Niigata, one of the things I did was I collected spring mountain vegetables. They are only out for like two weeks a year and you go up in the mountain and you collect these vegetables and they steam them or fry them. And they’re bitter, but they’re so young and fresh and tender. So I think that’s one of sake’s secret weapons. It compare with bitter foods really well.
Jessica Joly: 23:52
I, I totally agree with you. I totally agree. And that’s one way that I always try to lure my wine friends into sake because again, the acidity is much lower and it, it is. It’s so versatile incompatible with different kinds of food, but specifically for this one, like you mentioned, it’s so smooth with the texture. It pairs excellent. Even with nuttier like vegetables, like bamboo shoots, which maybe might not think about as often, but like you mentioned, yeah, those bitter greens are great with sake.
John Puma: 24:26
nice. Nice. Well, we’ve got one more sake to go in the saga sake set. Jess take it away.
Jessica Joly: 24:35
Yes. So the last one right. Is a very fun bottle because it’s clear and the color is slightly yellow. So you are gonna be like, what is this? Well, in fact, this is an age sake The brewery is Yano brewery. So let’s take a look at it because it has a mushroom on the Label
John Puma: 24:56
Mm, I I know where this is going.
Jessica Joly: 24:59
know. What does mushroom insinuate, right? What does it signify?
Timothy Sullivan: 25:03
yes. Well, it says right here, umami
John Puma: 25:08
Tim. That’s cheating.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:09
an open book test and the Japanese character for this
Jessica Joly: 25:13
Yes is umami for that.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:15
Jessica Joly: 25:16
And I think, you know, right, right now in the culinary world, a lot of people use the word umami, right. Because it’s that fifth sense. And so when I think about that to me, this is gonna bring that savory, that saltiness, that sourness all of those things together in one glass. And I think that’s just really, really unique. And as you can tell by the color, this is very different. it is is five years aged.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:45
All right. Well, let me give the rundown for our listeners for this sake. So this is Yano umami aged Kimoto Junmai, this uses a sake rice known as Kitashizuku. That’s milled to 75%. Our sake meter value is plus five acidity is 2.2 a little bit on the higher side there and 16% alcohol.
John Puma: 26:10
Timothy Sullivan: 26:11
All right. So Jess, what can you tell us about Yano shuzo?
Jessica Joly: 26:15
So Yano brewery was established in 1789 and the current president and Toji. So he does do two roles is in its ninth generation Motohide Yano, and currently only four people work at the brewery.
Timothy Sullivan: 26:32
Jessica Joly: 26:33
we’re, we’re taking it back down four people. So literally if we’re on this podcast with three people, we just need to bring one more person in that, you know,
John Puma: 26:43
Jessica Joly: 26:46
So it, it is a very small production,
John Puma: 26:49
Timothy Sullivan: 26:51
Jessica Joly: 26:52
Yeah. So that’s quite a long time when you think about it, right? Because five years, a lot of things have changed, but, um, in this beautiful brew, you know, you, you notice the color, you notice the umami and I highly suggest the listeners to try this sake. All different temperatures.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:11
All right. Well, let’s get it in the glass and talk about this color
John Puma: 27:14
Jessica Joly: 27:16
Again, you’ll notice that the bottle is clear, which is also quite rare sometimes for sake bottles. So you can really enjoy the beautiful yellow golden hue. What do you think Sensei
Timothy Sullivan: 27:29
Yeah, the color here is definitely straw colored. It’s almost like an apple juice color. Like it has that golden hue to it caramelized golden hue, but it doesn’t get into the Amber colors at all. So it’s a very light, golden color, but yeah, almost like for me, like an apple juice color, really beautiful
John Puma: 27:51
for five years of aging. That’s really interest.
Jessica Joly: 27:54
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely on the lighter side, but like, Tim sensei mentioned it’s just the right golden. And I think when you really get that whiff, I highly suggest drinking this out of a sniffer glass because it really encapsulates the aroma and it has so much to offer. I, I really believe that this is a little bit more complex.
Timothy Sullivan: 28:15
All right. Well, let’s give it a smell and take in that aroma. Oh, wow. This is like a textbook example of what umami expresses in an
John Puma: 28:27
mm-hmm this is, this is the umami bomb.
Jessica Joly: 28:32
Yes, this is, and you may notice some cacao cinnamon, you know, slight, slight caramel notes. Um, these are all things that, you know, we, I personally really like,
Timothy Sullivan: 28:48
Hmm, and a little butter scotch. And also in the back, I smell some of those lactic characters that are common in sake, a little bit of that creamy, uh, Milky yogurty smell as well. So very complex, very deep aroma.
Jessica Joly: 29:04
John Puma: 29:06
Now, this is, this is, as you mentioned, when you said textbook, that is, I was like, yes, absolutely. This is the quintessential, umami, this is the aroma. I think of when I think of, uh, H sake, this is something that I think of when I’m like, oh, what kind of sake would you warm up? Like, this is it.
Jessica Joly: 29:24
exactly. And, yeah, I mean, we have to taste it to fully enjoy so
Timothy Sullivan: 29:28
All right, here we go. Hmm. Oh, it’s so savory,
Jessica Joly: 29:35
Timothy Sullivan: 29:36
savory, super savory. it has those soy sauce and miso mushroom notes. again, a little bit of warm, warm spice. Like you mentioned, Jessica, like a little, of the cinnamon. Yeah, really delicious.
Jessica Joly: 29:56
Oh my gosh. And again, I think one of the fun techniques John was doing it earlier too, is even if you decided to start drinking this sake, chilled, like let’s say you just pulled it out of the fridge, hold the glass with your hands. To like, let it open up, warm up to body temperature because within five to 10 minutes in such a short period of time, I believe that you’ll notice a little bit more of the aromas to shine through. and even on the, palate, the texture, it does start to warm up and change a little bit. So that’s the fun part about
Timothy Sullivan: 30:29
I couldn’t agree more. And that’s just, that is such a good point because if you want to try sake at different temperatures, you don’t have to get out the sake heater and boil the water and whatever, you can just warm it with your hands and leave it out on the counter and let it warm up. Naturally. It’s a great way to play with temperature. That’s super low tech and you don’t have to worry about it.
Jessica Joly: 30:48
it’s easy peasy.
Timothy Sullivan: 30:51
Great. So this is another label with a pairing suggestion on the label, so we wanna pair with mushrooms my mind is already ablaze with ideas for pairing, but Jessica, you’re the expert. what are some of your favorites with this
Jessica Joly: 31:05
man. I mean, this one is literally endless. There’s so many different things. Mushrooms, right? Truffle season is amazing bacon. Right? Think about those kind of fatty, fatty meats, even lamb chops, aged cheese, braised beef. And then you, you might think this is a little bit avant guard, but Hey, try with some vanilla ice cream, you know, like
John Puma: 31:30
Timothy Sullivan: 31:32
we did a whole episode where we, did that vanilla ice cream, and we loved it with a, with a different age sake, but this one would be perfect as well.
Jessica Joly: 31:41
even, I mean, dark chocolate. Honey dried fruits. I mean, this is, this is a sake that you can drink solely on its own with food, with dessert, or even on the rocks last night pool side on the rocks by the pool on a hot summer day
Timothy Sullivan: 31:59
Jessica Joly: 31:59
John Puma: 32:00
That sounds nice. you obviously had a better day than I did yesterday. My day. Wasn’t bad. cause that’s just hard to beat
Timothy Sullivan: 32:10
What about people who might be a little afraid of aged sake. If they see this in the bottle with the darker colors, what’s your advice for people who might be unsure about aged?
Jessica Joly: 32:21
Yeah. I mean, if this is their first time again, you know, the, the aroma is very potent in that sense that it’s striking. Right? So if, if you’re a little intimidated, take a few ice cubes. And then serve it in a rocks glass because just that little bit of dilution will soften the palate. It’ll soften the aroma. Um, you know, call me a little crazy, put a little stiff cinnamon stick in there too. You can make it like a, it’s your own dessert cocktail.
John Puma: 32:50
So, now my understanding is that, uh, people in the New York area have an opportunity. To taste all of these sakes and more at an event coming up very soon.
Jessica Joly: 33:04
Yes, this is super, super exciting on September 19th, uh, which is right around the corner. We are hosting these producers at Sakagura, the famous. sakagura sake bar here in Manhattan. guests can purchase their tickets on eventbrite. for a meet and greet. So we’re featuring, um, Koimari Mitsutake and Yano brewery from saga sake lineup in also including Amabuki Azumaichi brewery as well as Mizunomai. shochu So all these producers are from Saga Prefecture, and we will be featuring their sake and shochu tasting for guests who come alongside, uh, food from the chef from Sakagura. So it is $75 a ticket purchase. Those tickets from Eventbright and guests who attend get a very special ARITA porcelain sake, a cup as a gift.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:06
That sounds great. So if you’re in the New York city area, again, it’s September 19th at Sakagura in New York city and we will link to the place to buy tickets on our show notes. So just visit our show notes and if you’re interested in attending this amazing event and the brewers are going to be there, is that right?
Jessica Joly: 34:24
that’s correct. And oh, they’re super excited to meet everybody.
John Puma: 34:28
Wow. That’s great. It’s, it’s been so nice to see brewers starting to come back to the States. It’s been so long and it’s great to finally, have these people back here, um, being able to promote their sake in person.
Jessica Joly: 34:42
Agreed. Agreed. It’s been a long time coming and for a lot of these producers, it it’s their first time here in the U.S. And first time in New York. So what great opportunity to meet greet and drink with them.
John Puma: 34:56
Great. Thank you so much for that info. Sounds great.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:59
Yeah. So I’ll see you at September 19th, not gonna miss
Jessica Joly: 35:03
We shall all be there for sure.
John Puma: 35:05
Timothy Sullivan: 35:06
awesome, Jessica. Thank you so much for joining us. This was just an absolute pleasure tasting through these
Jessica Joly: 35:13
Thank you. It’s such an honor. And finally, I get to make my mark on Sake Revolution.
John Puma: 35:18
Thank you so much for stopping by Jess, it was really great to see you and really great to be able to chat about sake with you.
Jessica Joly: 35:23
Thank you so much, John and Tim sensei. That was wonderful. And I look forward to sharing more sake adventures with you all, but first and foremost, with Saga sake.
John Puma: 35:34
Timothy Sullivan: 35:35
all right. Well, thanks again, Jess, for joining us. And I want to thank all of our listeners so much for tuning in. We really appreciate all of you and I’d like to give a special. Hello, and thank you as well to our patrons. If you’d like to support sake revolution, you can join us on Patreon and to learn more about that, visit us at patreon.com/SakeRevolution. And we look forward to seeing you there.
John Puma: 36:01
And that is not the only way to support our show. You can also do it by hopping onto your podcast platform of choice and leaving us a review that might be apple podcast, Spotify, whatever you like to do, it really does move the needle on the show and gets it into more ears, without any further ado, everybody, please grab your glasses. Remember to keep drinking sake and kanpai