Episode 26 Show Notes
Season 1. Episode 26. The Revolution will be broadcast live… on Sake Day! As part of the online “Sake Day USA” festival and fundraiser put on by the non-profit American Sake Association, 501(c)(3), Sake Revolution joined in the celebration by streaming a live podcast episode as part of the celebration. The American Sake Association’s “Sake Day USA” was a virtual gathering on Oct 1st and featured a diverse schedule of sake tastings, seminars, cooking demonstrations, and other fun presentations that allowed anyone to celebrate sake online for Sake Day. If you’d like to learn more about the American Sake Association or Sake Day USA, please visit this URL: https://americansakeassociation.org/
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Skip to: 02:50
Sake Day is the 1st of October. Once celebrated only in Japan it is now an international day of celebration for all things sake. There are three reasons that sake is associated with October:
1) Rice in Japan is harvested in September, so starting October 1, sake brewing can theoretically begin as the rice harvest reaches breweries.
2) the Japanese Kanji character for the 10th month of the year in the Chinese zodiac is “Tori” (Rooster) and looks like this: 酉 If you compare that to the Japanese Kanji for sake: 酒 you can see there is a strong resemblance. Due to this, Sake and October become connected.
3) In 1978, the Japan Sake and Shochu Maker’s Association Declared October 1st to be Sake Day. This is the beginning of our modern understanding of sake day as the one day in the year to celebrate sake far and wide.
John and Timothy introduce their sakes for this week.
Kokuryu Ryu Daiginjo
Brewery: Kokuryu Brewery
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki
Ryujin “Dragon God” Kakushi Ginjo Namachozo
Classification: Ginjo, Namachozo
Brewery: Ryujin Shuzo
Rice Type: Gohyakumangoku
Sake Name English: Dragon God
Importer: Mutual Trading (USA)
Brand: Ryujin (龍神)
This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!
Episode 26 Transcript
John Puma: 0:22
Hello, and welcome to Sake Revolution… LIVE! This is America’s first sake podcast. I’m your host, John Puma from thesakenotes.com. Also the administrator of the internet, Sake discord, shout out to all my people in there. And you might also know me from the American sake association
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 urbansake website and together John and I will be tasting and chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.
John Puma: 0:56
and here we are Tim, broadcasting live.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:59
Yes, the revolution is live. We are live and in person. So John. Why don’t you tell our listeners what’s happening right now? First of all, what day is today?
John Puma: 1:11
Well, well, we’re not quite in person just yet, but today is sake day. It’s October 1st, 2020, which somehow made it to October. Uh, and we are broadcasting live from the American sake associations sakeday USA. Online sake festival and fundraiser. this was a, a event that has nice diverse it’s schedule of sake tastings. seminars, little cooking. You guys probably saw some of that, a workout, video, things that we didn’t quite expect. and of course, live sake podcast. the goal of the American sake association is to spread good vibes today on sake day it’s everyone’s home.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:52
Absolutely. And for the first time ever, we’re doing this live, we have a live audience with us listening in. I want to say hi to everyone in the chat. Uh, please let us know where you’re from and what you’re drinking. We are so excited to have you, and I want to know if anybody is excited for the sake education corner.
John Puma: 2:13
or are you excited to taste some sake together?
Timothy Sullivan: 2:17
Well, I am excited for both. John, I hope you brought some special and very nice sake for today because it is sake day. I decided to splash out, go a little crazy. And I might have something in the daiginjo department for our sake…for me.
John Puma: 2:35
Timothy Sullivan: 2:36
John Puma: 2:37
that’s very unlike you, but sake day only comes once a year. and I know that you’re really excited and anxious to sip that Daiginjo. It’s very interesting that you’re the guy who wants to get right into the sake today.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:47
It’s usually the other way around.
John Puma: 2:50
but I think we need to take a slight detour into the sake education corner. People might be curious as to exactly what, um, what sake date is.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:59
Yes. Why do we have sake day? I mean, we have to admit there’s kind of a day for everything, right? There’s step siblings day and all kinds of days, but sake day is really having a moment. It’s really time for sake data step forward. And I hope that this webinar and this podcast episode is really going to help bring sake day forward. let me tell you a little bit about how sake day developed and where it all came from. So, first of all, you have to understand that in Japan, rice is always harvested in September. So that means that all the rice is coming from the fields that’s grown over the summer. In October. So October 1st became the unofficial start day for the sake brewing season. So October 1st became known as sake day as a way to Mark the beginning of the brewing season and kind of focus everyone’s attention on the start of the brewing season.
John Puma: 3:59
So it had like a practical, usage.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:02
yeah. That’s right. So it’s, it’s a, way to Mark the beginning of sake brewing but there’s another more ancient reason that sake is tied with October
John Puma: 4:15
Alright. I like ancient reasons. So tell me about this.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:18
well, do you know about the Chinese Zodiac? Have you ever heard of that?
John Puma: 4:22
Timothy Sullivan: 4:23
So everyone, like I’m a dog, like everyone is born under a certain sign.
John Puma: 4:27
thanks for the heads up,
Timothy Sullivan: 4:28
I’m do you know what your Chinese sign is?
John Puma: 4:31
I don’t actually.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:32
Oh, Hmm. I don’t either, but I’m a dog. I’m a dog. My partner is a horse and there’s one animal for all the 12 months of the year. And the animal associated with October is the rooster.
John Puma: 4:53
Timothy Sullivan: 4:53
if you look at the original kanji Japanese character for rooster, it is very, very close to the Kanji for sake. So. The Kanji, the way you write the word rooster and the way you write the word sake are very, very close. So it’s almost like an ancient play on words kind of thing. And that is another reason that sake is connected to October.
John Puma: 5:19
I have been notified that I am a snake. So in case there was any question we’ve got that figured out,
Timothy Sullivan: 5:27
I, I don’t know if snakes and dogs around the harmony triangle.
John Puma: 5:33
is that like the education corner and what the what’s the harmony triangle?
Timothy Sullivan: 5:36
Well, there’s certain like certain years apart, you’re supposed to get along if you’re on the harmony triangle, but, uh, anyway, we get along just fine, I think. Yeah.
John Puma: 5:47
so far, at least.
Timothy Sullivan: 5:50
So there’s one final one final way that we look into sake day and that is. The Japan sake and shochu makers association in 1978 made it official. And they declared sake day, October 1st. So ever since 1978, we have the modern understanding of sake day. And I think it grew from a national thing into, in Japan to a real international, sensation because brewery started opening up all over the world and people wanted to celebrate sake And I think the biggest. The problem we have with sake day now in the modern era is that when they want to Kanpai and drink sake in Japan, it’s like three o’clock in the morning here. So that’s why we needed our sake day USA because I couldn’t get myself out of bed at three in the morning to kanpai with my Japanese friends. I couldn’t.
John Puma: 6:45
you had to give that extra mile, Tim. I was actually lucky enough to be in Japan during a sake day, a few years back, I was excited to go to local izakaya and see how they were going to be celebrating. And a lot of places had some interesting stuff. And one thing I found out is that there’s a. A brewery that releases a specific bottle on sakeday every
Timothy Sullivan: 7:09
Wow. That’s so cool.
John Puma: 7:11
Hagino, Shuzo does, Hagi No Tsuru. And it’s the interesting thing is that they’re the logo of the sake that they released on sake days his, um, his big black frame glasses. And I can’t stop seeing that when I look at you today. So
Timothy Sullivan: 7:25
Yeah, I know that bottle. I know that bottle. It’s like a little line drawing with
John Puma: 7:30
Right, right, right. And it’s, and it’s, it’s like the logo is part of it. And that, that comes out on a sake day every year.
Timothy Sullivan: 7:36
This is my ode to that bottle.
John Puma: 7:39
Timothy Sullivan: 7:41
All right. Well, what we usually do at this point is we introduce the sake that we’ve brought and I’d love to know what sake you picked to drink together on sake day.
John Puma: 7:52
you didn’t. So you don’t want to start with that. Daiginjo
Timothy Sullivan: 7:55
I want to start with your sake
John Puma: 7:58
All right. I brought this sake simply because I love it. It’s not
Timothy Sullivan: 8:02
No better reason than
John Puma: 8:04
it’s, it’s the best reason I think. And so this is the, Ryujin Dragon. God, this is their. Ginzo. Kakushi. I call it and it’s a, namachozo. And I listened to episodes recently where I’m pulling sake out of bags. So recognize this sound. And, this is for me, one of the best sake is to, introduce new people to sake with, because it’s got a little something for everybody. and we’ll get into that a little bit more. Once we started tasting,
Timothy Sullivan: 8:39
Yeah. So yours is a, it’s a Ginzo and it’s a Namachozo right? So it’s the alcohol added style and it’s only been pasteurized once. All right. Well, I’ve had that sake before and I absolutely love it. So you get 10 out of 10 in my book for your pick. All right. And now the big reveal for my sake Ooh I have Daiginjo the brand name is “Kokuryu” Kokuryu Daiginjo This is also known as Ryu
John Puma: 9:14
Ooh. Oh, I like that. It’s not like a gold foil on
Timothy Sullivan: 9:16
John Puma: 9:18
glitter even better.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:20
Yes. So this is one of my favorite labels of all time. It straddles the line of being like, really fun and really elegant. Oh, and the, the label is like a linen fabric. It’s really beautiful. And it’s got wonderful, glitter on it. And this is a Daiginjo grade, 15% alcohol it’s from Fukui prefecture. Kokuryu means black dragon in
John Puma: 9:47
Ooh. So you’re you have the black dragon? I have the dragon God. So this episode is all about dragons and I think we have a title, so that works out. mine is actually from a Gunma and uh, my semaibuai is at 55%.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:02
Yeah. And I’m at 40%.
John Puma: 10:04
Ooh, what? Go ahead. What kind of rice do you have there?
Timothy Sullivan: 10:06
this uses a hundred percent Yamada Nishiki. Which is pretty common for that junmai daiginjo and daigino grades, they often go right to that. Hyogo Yamada. Nishiki so that’s what we’ve got here.
John Puma: 10:19
Ah, I’ve got the gohyakumangoku as often as the case on our show, but one of us has a gohyakumangoku sake whether we mean to or not,
Timothy Sullivan: 10:27
There’s always a gohyakumangoku, lurking
John Puma: 10:29
there is there is lurking about
Timothy Sullivan: 10:33
So who was going to enjoy first?
John Puma: 10:35
I mean, you’ve got you’ve you brought the, you have gold glitter, foil and whatnot. You, you go
Timothy Sullivan: 10:41
okay, so I’m going to open this Daiginjo I’m not gonna fight you on that. I’ll go first. And this has opened this up. All right. All right. So I’m going to go ahead. I have a. Very interesting. sakewine glass here. I’m going to pour
John Puma: 10:59
That isn’t very nice glass.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:03
So what we do here is we evaluate the sake So I’m going to go ahead and give this a smell. Oh, wow. It smells very rich. Hmm. Almost we’ve talked about this term perfumed, it’s a dense, rich, floral perfumy type of aroma intoxicating aroma. It is beautiful. Yeah. There’s there’s all just on the back note, really subtle, but very pleasing. There’s a bit of spiciness too. Like almost it ends with a little note of cinnamon and sometimes in perfume they have a spice note as well. It’s very, very much like that. Just lovely. And there’s some very ripe melon,
John Puma: 11:49
Ripe Melon. Not, not gentle wafting.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:51
wafting melon. No, this is right. This is ripe. This is right in front of me. Hmm. It’s really, really, really delicious aroma. Okay. Let’s taste this. Mm okay. Tastes good too.
John Puma: 12:06
All right. We like that. If it was amazing aroma and then the flavor didn’t live up to that. We’d be a little disappointed right now.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:13
well, the, body of this sakeis actually a little bit lighter than I expected. The aroma is so perfume and, so, deep and rich and, like I said, a little spicy, I thought this would be more coating on the pallate that it would be richer, but I’m noticing it has an acidity of 0.9. So it has a low acidity even for
John Puma: 12:34
Yeah. That is
Timothy Sullivan: 12:35
low acidity. Yeah. And the, 40% rice milling rate. That lower rice milling rate removes a lot of the fats and proteins from the grains before you make the sake. And it gives us silkiness. So there’s a tremendous texture to this sake, really silky very, very smooth, but it’s, it’s a little bit lighter than I was expecting based on the aroma, but still super enjoyable. And the finish does linger a little bit. So in that way, it has a lovely wine-like quality in that it does the finish lingers. And this is a savoring sake. This is one you’re going to sip on, savor it and just enjoy.
John Puma: 13:18
That’s you see the it’s interesting that the, the texture and that lingering, quality to it is there considering how a light on the palate? It was usually that’s something that kinda comes with having something that’s a little bit more, a little more, has a lot more viscosity to it. So that’s an
Timothy Sullivan: 13:36
Yeah. Yeah, but it’s, it’s really, really good. you could pair this with appetizers very easily. But it is a very classic, fruity Daiginjo with a little bit of, that, uh, rich aroma.
John Puma: 13:53
Hmm. So you’re saying I would enjoy the sake great deal. Is that what you’re telling me?
Timothy Sullivan: 13:57
the very first episodes of sake revolution, it was before COVID and we would record them together. And john. And I would sit in the same room and we would taste each other’s sake and we would, talk about it.
John Puma: 14:08
about a foot away from each other people. You wouldn’t believe it.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:11
I know no masks
John Puma: 14:15
Three guys, same bottle. And it was horrifying now.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:19
now John and I are always drinking something different and I’m always like, God, I wish I could try that.
John Puma: 14:24
Yeah, I’m in that position right now. I want that, that looks really nice.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:30
John Puma: 14:31
Hmm. as well
Timothy Sullivan: 14:35
Yes, go for it.
John Puma: 14:37
Okay. Yeah. That’s not fully work. We do this live. And I just have a, a regular old, stemmed wineglass today. I think that it’s important to kind of use things they have on hand. They’re easy to get. And aroma here is also intoxicating, but probably in a different way. And I’m not saying it’s boozy or anything like that. I’m just saying that it’s a, a lot of fruit comes across and it’s very tropical. it’s making a very intense promise to me about how fruity it’s going to be. It’s basically that that aroma is just telling me that I should expect a fruit bomb. When I sip on this. Now let’s find out if it’s
Timothy Sullivan: 15:27
We want sakes is that under promise and over deliver?
John Puma: 15:31
Well, this is actually kind of in line it’s. Um, it is very fruity. There is a bit of a, there’s a bit of spice on the finish, like a peppery finish, but it’s not distracting at all. It’s actually kind of a welcome, it’s a nice way to finish the flow. So it’s not just, you have to have someplace to go after all that fruit and it does nice job there. It does coat the mouth very nicely. And as you do sip on more, it does double up. You do get more of everything every time you sip it. It is one of those dangerous sakes that. You can accidentally, um, disappear a bottle in a short time. I may be speaking from experience when I say that. but yeah, this is why it’s a favorite of mine and it is, uh, like I said earlier, something I’d like to introduce people who don’t know about sake because a lot of people don’t know that there is fruit and like that there’s a fruit flavor to some sake is uh to a lot of sake And so putting something like this in front of them, it completely changes their perspective on it. So a little bit unsubtle about its fruitiness, but it does often change what people think sake can do. And that’s why, I kind of like having it in there as like a wonder you try this
Timothy Sullivan: 16:54
Hm. Yeah. I got a question for you. I noticed that your sake has an SMV minus two. So yeah, so for our listeners, SMV is the sake meter value. It’s a measurement of the density of the sake and we use it generally to tell how sweet or dry a sake might be. Negative numbers on the scale, tend to read a little bit sweeter on the palate. And plus numbers tend to read a little bit dryer. Mine is a plus three, which is really quite neutral. You would expect a good balance between sweet and dry from a plus three. And yours is a minus two. when you taste it, are you picking up on any overt sweetness at all, or is it really integrated?
John Puma: 17:36
you know, it’s much more fruit and sweet. I mean, there is a certain level of it, obviously. but yeah, I’m not sure where that’s going. Cause it is quite balanced. It’s not coming across overtly sweet. the acidity on this is only 1.3, so it’s also not, It’s not going to be neutralized by high acidity, which is something that I think we’ve encountered in the past on the show. But yeah, it’s just, they do a really nice job. I think also since this is, a little bit higher in alcohol, this is listed as 16 and a half, I think on the bottle of 16 slash 17%, maybe the alcohol content is helping to neutralize that a little bit, but it does balance really nicely.
Timothy Sullivan: 18:16
yeah, that’s great. Well, I just took another sip of mine and I’m, I’m kind of in hog heaven over here.
John Puma: 18:25
This is what you’re gonna be drinking for the balance of the evening.
Timothy Sullivan: 18:28
I hate to break it to everyone on the webinar. But when we were kanpai-ing with everybody at 3:00 PM this afternoon, I was faking it. I did not have sake my cup I was waiting for this. I knew that I was going to get to drink this.
John Puma: 18:44
So this is the first sake you’ve had all day.
Timothy Sullivan: 18:46
no. no, no. no. Just at the very beginning of the webinar, I was maybe sipping on water or iced coffee. I don’t know. But. You know, I did have some sake a little bit in the afternoon, and this is the first real glass that I’ve had. And it is a treasure. It is, is so delicious. I mean, if you’re going to put gold glitter on your label, you better have something special. Right?
John Puma: 19:12
I think so. I think so. Uh, I, I should also have mentioned, and I don’t, I don’t usually discuss this on the show, but one thing that’s really wonderful about the sake is it’s very inexpensive. I think that from a price to performance standpoint, this is like punching way above its weight. And again, it’s like, it’s something that’s really easy to recommend for people because it’s a style that they may not have had before. If they re they’re really new to sake And it’s really hard to say no to at a lower price point.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:42
Yeah. that’s something that we don’t talk about very much. It’s like, what, what does it cost? what’s the cost of our sake. And do you know the rough retail price of the sakethat you got in
John Puma: 19:51
Um, I think this was about, I think it was around $26
Timothy Sullivan: 19:57
John Puma: 19:59
So, I mean, yeah, it’s really inexpensive.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:01
for a delicious bottle of imported premium sake that’s a great price.
John Puma: 20:06
Yeah. The, the place where I purchased it from for a time, they only got isshobin of this. sake Because it didn’t make sense to sell the, this the 720 milliliter because it was like, it was, so it was cheap for the, for the magnum So, luckily I was able to get, a 720 today. So ha
Timothy Sullivan: 20:29
I don’t mind buying a Magnum every now and again.
John Puma: 20:31
I don’t mind either. There’s really hard for me to store, as we talked about at the, in the, in our isshobin or our vessels episode or
Timothy Sullivan: 20:39
Yeah, yeah. Bottling. Yeah.
John Puma: 20:42
bottling him. There’s a name on that episode, guys. We, I just don’t remember right now
Timothy Sullivan: 20:47
Yeah. In my mind, this is the box that it came in.
John Puma: 20:51
This is very
Timothy Sullivan: 20:52
fancy and yeah. So the cost of mine, I think, was under a hundred dollars. I think it was around $80. for, you know, People splash out every once in a while they, spend a little bit more for a special occasion. People do that for a bottle of wine every now and again, and this is 110% worth it, for a special sake day live sake revolution episode. I thought, you know what, let me go for something a little fancier. And when you do that, sometimes you’re rewarded. Sometimes you’re not, but this definitely worked out very, very
John Puma: 21:28
delicous I don’t see you glow this much after you have some sake
Timothy Sullivan: 21:32
No, I’m happy. I’m happy.
John Puma: 21:34
like, this is he’s serious. This is really what he looks like. Mike is very happy about a sake.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:39
This is really, really good. And we usually talk about food pairing. We have a couple of minutes left. I don’t know if you have any ideas
John Puma: 21:45
I will absolutely get into that. as a rule, I don’t pair with this, um, it’s this is my aperitif sake This is something I drink at the beginning. I want to enjoy it for what it is for everything it is. don’t want to mess with it. What would you do with your super fancy gold foiled? Daiginjo
Timothy Sullivan: 22:07
well, I’m pretty much on the same page with you. I would definitely have this as an aperitif. This is a sake that I would savour and sit with chat with a good friend, really enjoy it. if I was having it with food, I would have it with the appetizers, lighter dishes, like, uh, you know, maybe a carpaccio or something. That’s a little bit lighter. the salad courses would pair really well with this. When sakes have a little hint of melon in the nose, like a little bit of fruitiness that Ginjo aroma in the nose. I often think of, having a salad and sometimes you put fruit or melon or grapes in a salad and you get that little bit of fruitiness. And I love that mixing of little bit of a bitter green with a fruity component, whether it be, orange or melon or something like that. I think those are really great. So mixing fruit in a salad is something, I think that pairs really well with daiginjos not the easiest thing to pair in the world, but that’s something I really like to go to.
John Puma: 23:09
Hmm. Nice. Looks like we got a, a pairing discussion going in the chat.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:13
John Puma: 23:14
all of that, which is great.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:15
John Puma: 23:17
Yeah, I’m going to hold onto them a little bit of it until quarantine zone. No. Okay.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:24
Yeah. Yeah. I’ll share with you when quarantine is over. We’ll share.
John Puma: 23:29
Yeah. We need to meet up in the city at a neutral ground or something I’ll bike in and we’ll get together across a long table.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:41
And we, we joke every week that as soon as, we can travel again, we’re going to take sake revolution on the road. And now what’s jumped to the top of my list is now Arizona sake brewery That was so cool to visit them at the webinar. I really want to go there and try their sake that now we have a new, we have a new destination on our growing list.
John Puma: 24:04
The list is long and, I think we’ve got. We’ve got Hiroshima. We’ve got to have okinomiyaki, uh, all of them at the entire five story. okay. Tell me Maura.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:15
Yeah. And Peyton is saying we have to come to Austin first.
John Puma: 24:18
Oh, I have not been to any part of Texas, so,
Timothy Sullivan: 24:26
Yeah. So we have a long list and, I think this was great. Did you enjoy our sake day episode?
John Puma: 24:34
Are you asking me or the chat?
Timothy Sullivan: 24:35
No. I’m asking you.
John Puma: 24:36
Oh, I did. I had a great time. I got to stand here and talk about sake and, uh, and drink. One of my favorite sake is, honestly I get to sit here and talk about sake every week and it’s like the highlight of my week. So,
Timothy Sullivan: 24:51
Yeah, this has been really great. And, it’s been so much fun. We recently had our 25th episode anniversary, so we did five episodes and we hit 5,000 downloads. So we’re on track and we love to hear from of our listeners. Um, yeah, so I want to thank everyone in the chat. Everyone listening. Thank you so much for tuning in. We really hope that you’re enjoying our show. If you’d like to show your support for sake revolution. Please take a couple of minutes and leave us a written review on Apple podcasts. It’s one of the best ways that you can help us get the word out about our show.
John Puma: 25:32
Uh, be sure to, um, take a few moments and subscribe. So that you can get this podcast miraculously delivered to your device of choice every week, and you don’t miss any episodes.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:45
And as always, if you would like to learn anything about the topics we talked about or any of the sake we tasted today. Please be sure to visit our website, sake revolution.com and check out our detailed show notes.
John Puma: 25:58
if you have a sake question that you need answered, we want to hear from you. reach out to us at [email protected] So until next time, please remember you keep drinking sake and guys pace yourselves today. It’s a marathon, not a sprint Kanpai!