Episode 47 Show Notes
Season 1. Episode 47. Today we focus on another “Sake Spotlight” – this time we travel to the smallest of Japan’s main islands – Shikoku – as we visit Kochi prefecture. Kochi is an interesting place for sake. While it doesn’t have a huge amount of sake breweries – just 18 at last count – it does have an oversized amount of local sake culture. The breweries are known to favor collaboration and this boosts the overall reputation of Kochi sake quite a bit. In addition to that, Kochi is known as a hard-drinking and rural locale, deeply tied to the bounty of the ocean. Katsuo no tataki (seared skip jack tuna) is the local mainstay dish – it goes without saying that it pairs to perfection with Kochi’s extra-dry style of sake. These generally dry and bolder flavors of Kochi-style sake are easy to love. Kochi also seems to be ground zero for sake drinking games as well. Beer pong, stand aside! Kochi brings us “kiku no hana” a get-drunk-fast scheme involving hiding a chrysanthemum blossom under overturned sake cups and “bekuhai” a game that has us spinning a top and drinking out of some funky looking sake cups – kind of a no-kissing spin the bottle. The real story here, however, is the hospitality of the people of Kochi – it lies at the source of all the good food and drink of this region. Join John and Tim as they dive deep into the much loved world of Kochi sakes.
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Senchu Hassaku Tokubetsu Junmai
Brewery: Tsukasabotan Brewery
Classification: Tokubetsu Junmai
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.
Suigei Koiku 54 Junmai Ginjo
Brewery: Suigei Shuzo
Classification: Junmai Ginjo
Rice Type: Gin No Yume
Importer: Mutual Trading (USA)
Sake Name English: Drunken Whale
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.
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Episode 47 Transcript
John Puma: 0:22
Hello everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution this is America’s first sake podcast. And I’m your host, John Puma from the sake notes. Also the administrator over at the friendly neighborhood, internet sake discord, the guy on the show who was most, definitely not a sake samurai, I’m just your local sake nerd.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:43
And I am your host, Timothy Sullivan. I am a sake samurai. I’m also a sake educator and I am the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week 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: 1:01
Tim this week, we’re doing another one of our Prefecture deep dives. And I am very excited because it is, uh, one of my favorite places for sake. And if I’m not mistaken, we actually done our homework on this one. You and I have both been there.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:18
We’ve both been there. And all I can say is we are going deep.
John Puma: 1:22
It’s going to be a good time
Timothy Sullivan: 1:24
We’re going deep.
John Puma: 1:25
This, what was that?
Timothy Sullivan: 1:28
We’re going deep. This is a deep dive.
John Puma: 1:31
Yeah, this is the deep South. I want to say. It’s like the South most place in Japan. If I’m not mistaken, right.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:37
so John, where, where are we headed today?
John Puma: 1:40
We’re going to Kochi.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:42
We going to Kochi Yes. So do you know which, which of the four islands Kochis on.
John Puma: 1:50
the, uh, uh, Hm. I do. I can’t remember right now.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:55
Well, it’s the smallest of the four main islands of Japan and it’s called Shikoku
John Puma: 2:01
Timothy Sullivan: 2:02
Pardon? My pronunciation, everyone out there, shikoku island. And it is on the pacific facing side of that Island and it’s kind of shaped like a Crescent, isn’t it, it’s like a, kind of like an upside down U shape. And it is a known for a lot of things which we’re going to talk about.
John Puma: 2:18
Yeah, it’s an upside down U shape. And a Kochi is actually the Southern most bit of that you, which makes it kind of isolated and, a mild pain to get to.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:33
John Puma: 2:33
unless you’re okay with flying domestically in Japan, which, which I am. But if I hear that, if you want to take like a rail or a bus or something like that, you’re in for a, quite a trip because there’s a lot of mountains in between the one side of that Island and Kochi. Kochi is very geographically isolated.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:51
Sure is one word you have to know when you talk about Kochi is TOSA: T-O-S-A many parts of Japan had a previous name to them. So this was like the feudal domain and what is currently. Kochi used to be known as TOSA. So very often, even in names of sake and things like that, you hear this name TOSA and the most prominent use of TOSA in the world of sake is the toji guild or the master brewers guild from this region is called the TOSA guild. That’s important to keep in mind too. You’re going to see that name again and again, when you explore this region.
John Puma: 3:31
That’s right. They’re not shy about that. And the, the TOSA Guild and like the sake producers of Kochi tend to be really tight and they do a lot of co-promotion. you know, their Attitude is very much that we’re in this together. They’re very big on their professional identity. When it comes to sake they share a lot of tech. They share rice, they work together on making new rices on making new yeasts. They are super tight and super, coordinated. And I think that the Prefecture the cities and the people really appreciate that. And they are behind their producers a hundred percent.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:06
Yes, absolutely. Right. They exchange a lot of information and the government supports it too. So they are all on the same. They’re on team Kochi You know
John Puma: 4:16
Yes. Yes. it? Absolutely. And the interesting thing is there’s not that many sake breweries in, Kochi but Kochi is a big name in sake as only 18, I think.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:29
yep. Looked it up. We’ve got 18 breweries there.
John Puma: 4:32
They’re well-known they make, they make very high quality sake. That’s, uh, that’s renowned for the entire country. and again, the people in Kochi like to drink.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:42
I’ve heard that Kochi has the largest per capita alcohol consumption of any region of Japan.
John Puma: 4:50
So, so I had also heard this and then, um, I looked into it a bit and I found out a, that’s a misnomer.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:57
John Puma: 4:58
It’s a rumor. There are other prefectures that still drink more,
Timothy Sullivan: 5:02
John Puma: 5:03
but they drink the most of their own sake
Timothy Sullivan: 5:06
Oh, I see.
John Puma: 5:07
Yes. They drink the most of it. So they drink the most local sake So the jisake in Kochi is very popular in Kochi.
Timothy Sullivan: 5:16
See. All right now it’s all coming together.
John Puma: 5:20
Yeah, but I, I remember for years hearing that hearing about, Oh, they drink more than anybody, per capita. And I was like, that’s very interesting. And I, at some point, somebody like blew that up on me and I was really sad because I don’t all this time thinking it was like thinking that was the case. And then when that was corrected and it was like, well, really it’s about, local nihonshu. Uh, I was like, okay. And then I went to Kochi and it all made perfect sense it’s like, I feel like when in a lot of other parts of Japan, you can walk around places and you won’t see too much about sake You won’t see too many ads, really a lot of places are going to be mostly, beer and cocktails or whiskey highballs and blah, blah, blah. But in Kochi It’s sake is front and center, and it’s got a very, a very prominent place in a lot of their, a lot of their restaurant and food culture, which is nice. It’s refreshing.
Timothy Sullivan: 6:15
Yeah. So as you mentioned before, you and I have both visited Kochi So I want to ask you, John, what’s your most prominent, most memorable experience that you had when you visited there?
John Puma: 6:26
Well, my most prominent memory. Well, it. Might’ve been going to this izakaya that only served sake from Kochi and he, but he was a super intense sake nerd and he had over 300 bottles. And I was when he said that I was like, well, there’s only 18 -breweries that doesn’t add up in my head, that you can’t have that many bottles of sake from Kochi and, and he’s like, no, no, no, no, no. They are all Kochi sakes And. He kind of like started like rummaging through the refrigerator to prove it to me and sure enough, he has like for example, Suigei, it’s a very well known, brewery in, Kochi and he had like their Nama. Of every type of, for every grade that they made for like the last five years. So that’s how he’s getting these numbers is because he’s got all these like older stuff is aging on his own, or like limited edition batch stuff that like no one’s ever seen before. And so going through and trying all these crazy sake is I’ve never heard of, or, or like they’re variations on sakes. I’ve had. Uh, was, was exciting and a lot of fun, actually.
Timothy Sullivan: 7:41
Oh, my gosh. I thought we were doing a Kochi deep dive, but that guy is doing a Kochi deep dive. Holy
John Puma: 7:47
but I want to say apart from that, the, he, did you, when you went, did you go to the, Hiromi market?
Timothy Sullivan: 7:52
Yes, I did. It’s a must. Must do. Yeah. So John, why don’t you describe what the Hiromi ichiba bar market is all
John Puma: 8:01
the, so the Hiromi ichiba market is kind of, Ooh, it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s kind of like, and this is going to sound awful when I say it, but it’s like, it reminds me of like a flea market.
Timothy Sullivan: 8:16
It’s like an open air market.
John Puma: 8:18
but it’s 80% food and
Timothy Sullivan: 8:22
John Puma: 8:23
Uh, and so it’s all like a lot of like local Kochi foods, mostly izakaya fair, and tons and tons and tons of alcohol. Uh, but it’s also, it has like a meat shop and a, and a liquor store and, you know, clothing stores and all this other stuff in there as well.
Timothy Sullivan: 8:40
Yeah, and there’s lots of shared seating, so it’s almost like stalls and then shared seating. So it’s kind of like fish market and beer garden and everything mixed together,
John Puma: 8:52
beer garden. That’s a good way to put it also. Yeah. yeah.
Timothy Sullivan: 8:56
But it, it, it was cramped too. I remember it being kind of cramped in everyone kind of smushes in together to drink together. And lots of people are talking to each other and you can vary, easily get rope, especially as a foreigner, you can get roped into conference stations very easily across the table. And I remember having a lot of fun at the market there in Kochi
John Puma: 9:16
Yeah. It’s uh, as an, I have to say, as a new Yorker, uh, we intrinsically. A lot of us kind of, uh, value our privacy when we’re out and about. And we don’t want to be bothered by people sitting next to us. It’s, it’s rude to talk to people, talk to strangers in a restaurant.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:34
John Puma: 9:35
but in Kochi that is like the height of. of politeness is to you’re talking to people around you. And it took a, it took a little while at first, but somebody started talking to it was, I was like, ah, Oh, like what’s going on? Um, and then I had to kind of like, no, that’s, I’m just being weird. This is completely, this is just people being friendly and accommodating and wanting to know about us and then wanting to know why we’re here and what we’re about. And if we’re enjoying our sake And I thought that was really nice.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:02
Yeah. Well, I actually went to kochi for a wedding. A Japanese wedding.
John Puma: 10:08
that’s a unique experience. I’m sure
Timothy Sullivan: 10:10
Yeah. So. I experienced a lot of culture around a traditional Japanese wedding, but they also played local kochi drinking games at the wedding. So there were sake drinking games that were unique to kochi and at the wedding reception. And the one that I remember the most that was really fun is called kiku no hana Have you heard of this one?
John Puma: 10:39
now I’m, I’m not familiar with kiku no hana I am familiar with some kochi drinking games, but kiku no hana is not a, it’s a new one for me. So please tell me what are the rules of kiku no hana and how does it result in your drinking a lot of sake because I’m sure it does.
Timothy Sullivan: 10:53
Sure it does. So at the wedding, there was actually a local kochi geisha, who was hired to come and entertain at the reception. And she walked around with a tray and the tray had about 12 sake cups that were turned upside down, small ceramic sake cups. And under one of the cups was a small Kiku or tiny chrysanthemum blossom. Under one of the cups. So she’d walk around and then gather a group together and hold the tray out. And then everybody one by one had to pick one of the cups and you turn the cup over. And if there was no flower under there, the next person picked and then the next person picked. And then when the person who picked the cup with the flower underneath it, that person had to drink sake out of all the overturned cups.
John Puma: 11:49
I was, I was wondering when we were going to get to the part where the, the winter drinking happened and there
Timothy Sullivan: 11:53
So if, if you’re, if you’re like the seventh person to overturn a cup and you have the flower underneath her, you have to drink your cup and everyone else’s cup before you. So that is a
John Puma: 12:06
sounds like it gets out of hand in a hurry.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:08
Yes. And then when you’re drinking, the geisha would clap her hands and sing this song. She’d asked you what your name was, and then she’d sing a song. It’s like, John is drinking. John is drinking and she’d clap her hands and, and kind of egg you on to drink all the ones. And of course, you know, if there’s 12 cups there, you can be in trouble real quick. So
John Puma: 12:31
a little bit. That, that sounds, that sounds pretty good.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:34
Yeah, it was, it was a fun, fun drinking game.
John Puma: 12:38
Uh, I think I, I had mentioned earlier that I’m, I am familiar with some Kochi Drinking Games and my favorite is bekuhi
Timothy Sullivan: 12:45
John Puma: 12:46
you’re, I know you’ve played bekuhi before. Cause I think, I think you were there when I was introduced to it, it was
Timothy Sullivan: 12:55
Is it all right if I don’t remember that?
John Puma: 12:57
several years back and, and you guys were playing and I was like, what is this game? and you guys told me the rules and I was like, this sounds absolutely dangerous.
Timothy Sullivan: 13:06
Yeah. Do you want, do you want to tell us about your Bekuhi drinking game
John Puma: 13:10
a set now, sir.
Timothy Sullivan: 13:11
All right. Well, let’s hear it. Uh, explain it for our listeners at home.
John Puma: 13:16
all right, let me give this a shot. So in bekuhi, there are three, uh, Vessels. We’re going to say, for putting sake in and they are all shaped like, uh, masks and everybody sits around a table and there is a, what is basically amounts to a dreidel, that you spin and the size of that. So that the vessel that is facing up needs to be drank by the person that is pointing to. It’s very simple. And it it’s very effective because, um, one of the masks that you’re drinking out of is this is a tengu and a tengu is a, like a Japanese, like, uh, uh, not, not, not like a demon so much, but like a kind of a mischievous, uh, goblin creature with a big nose. And the mask has a long nose. So it fits a. Rather impressive amount of sake probably about a hundred milliliters, maybe a little bit more and your expected to, to do it to just, you just drink it. The second cup is called the, uh, hook Toko. And it’s this, uh, this Japanese, uh, traditional comic character. You might see the, a mask. It looks like at festivals. Uh, and it’s like a guy with a puckered face puckered mouth. And there’s a hole, so you have to kind of plug it up with your finger and. Sip it all before you lose any sake And then the third one is just like a tiny little cup. call the Okami. Which is the most merciful of the, uh, of the possible cups that you can have to drink out of.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:56
Yeah. So it’s like, it’s like a, a top that you spin. It looks like a dreidel, like you said, and it’s a little bit like spin the bottle in that, whoever it points do they have to do something and then whatever, whatever shows up on the. Top side of the top. There’s pictures of all the different cups and then you have to drink it. And the cups you described the shapes of the cups, but the, the, one of the really important things is that when they’re filled with sake you can’t set them down because they’re all these odd shapes. So you have to drink it. And you can’t set the cup down or sakes is going to go everywhere. It forces you to drink the whole cup. So yeah, I, this, this definitely ties back to the, um, the consumption per capita Kochi.
John Puma: 15:46
The people in Kochi are wonderful, a wonderful, happy bunch. Kochi City though, I found, I was surprised the Kochi is a little bit smaller than I expected, it’s a little more rural. Everything is a little smaller, and, and it is, uh, as I mentioned earlier, isolated, the ocean is on one side and mountains are behind it and it’s, it takes a while to get any place else, which is also probably why they’ve kind of develop their own drinking culture, their own eating culture, their own know way of doing things. And it’s probably why they, they, they favor a lot of their own stuff. They probably feel in a lot of ways that they’re kind of on their own.
Timothy Sullivan: 16:19
Yeah. I learned one word when I was there. okyaku, okyaku, which is a word that many people know you, you may have heard okyaku-san, okyaku-san. means customer. It means customer in Japanese, but this word okyaku in Kochi means party or feast or get together. So they have this okyaku culture that. Every day is kind of a party and they, they really have this special brand of hospitality down there. And I think that isolation plays into it. The drinking games plays into it. And one other thing I want to mention before we move on to the tasting is the local star cuisine of Kochi. There’s one dish that reigns supreme. It’s the yamadanishiki of kochi food the…
John Puma: 17:18
he’s the King of, of local cuisine.
Timothy Sullivan: 17:21
King of local cuisine. And when I visited for the wedding that I went to, every izakaya. Every restaurant I went to had this dish front and center, you could not escape it. Did you have it too? Do you know
John Puma: 17:34
and a lot of them restaurants, when you walk past them, there’s somebody in the window making this dish
Timothy Sullivan: 17:38
John Puma: 17:39
because it is also in addition to being a very famous, it also, it is somewhat photogenic. Like it is watching somebody prepare this dish is something that is, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s a sight to be seen.
Timothy Sullivan: 17:50
Yes. And we are talking about bonito bonito in English. It’s Stripe Jack tuna, and it’s a type of fish obviously. And the flesh is like Ruby red. It’s like really beautiful fish when you cut it open. And this is so identified with Kochi know that there is more Stripe Jack tuna consumed in kochi than anywhere else in Japan. I read that on the internet. So it has to be true and they make something well, first of all, the most famous preparation of bonito is called katsuo no tataki. And that is a preparation where they slice it raw like sashimi, and then they expose it to flames from rice straw. So they burn rice straw flames come up very dramatically and they sear it. They sear the outside. So it’s seared on the outside, raw in the middle. So delicious. They serve it with some soy sauce and ginger and maybe some scallions. Oh my God. So good.
John Puma: 18:56
Oh, what else do you see? A lot of in kochi you see a lot of. See a lot of whale, um, uh, images and statues and, murals and mosaics. And, and you also see a lot of the, the guy who for a lot of years, I refer to as that kochi dude. And you’re familiar with about, right? Um, Ryoma Sakamoto, statues of this, samurai everywhere. And he’s always got as like, he’s he usually has like his arm, like, uh, in his robe, and, I think the sakes that we’re going to talk about today, touch on both aspects of this, Kochi iconography.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:40
Yes. Well, why don’t we introduce both of the sakes we brought and then when we dig a little deeper, we can talk about Sakamoto san and we can talk about whales too. So why don’t, why don’t you, you tell us what you brought from Kochi.
John Puma: 19:54
Today I brought, a sake from Suigei Brewery, which is a ubiquitous, a very, very famous, brand. From Kochi and this is there a koiku 54 Junmai ginjo now, uh, the tokubetsu Junmai is like their most famous product. I think we’ve definitely, tasted that on the show before, but since we were kind of going a little deeper into Kochi I wanted to try something different and not have the same, not the same sake again, also, this is a really interesting sake with a really interesting story that I can’t wait to tell later.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:30
Awesome. Well, Suigei is one of the most famous breweries in kochi I also went famous. I picked Tsukasaboton and I have there very much beloved Tokubetsu Junmai, which is called, Senshu Hassaku. Since you have sake and it is a dry, lovely Junmai. We’ve got a milling rate of 60% SMV plus eight, so nice and dry Yamada Nishiki rice. And it has a, an acidity of 1.4, 15% alcohol. It’s a lovely, lovely sake. sake
John Puma: 21:12
Yeah. And the, Suigei, you say local rice that was developed by Kochi Prefecture called gin no yume. The, the name of the project to make this rice was, Koiku 54. So it’s kind of like their name since it was the first sake they were making, using this rice They named it after the project to make the rice. It took them, like, I want to say 20 years to get to the point where they were, they started to use it, for production in this sake Uh the sake has only been around for about four years. So it’s a relatively, uh, five years now. Relatively new stuff. Yeah. Tim, why don’t you crack open your Tsukasaboton. And tell us a little bit about the brewery and get into the, into the details here. Into the weeds.
Timothy Sullivan: 22:01
Before we go any further, look at this label. John, look at that. It has neon orange writing on it,
John Puma: 22:09
is neon orange, but, but the thing that stands out to me mostly is that it’s not a standard rectangle. It is, is a square at 90 degrees, which is. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s, so it’s very distinctive. It’s very, uh, uh, unusual. And it’s something that when you see it on the shelf, you can’t not, it does not. There’s no way it doesn’t catch your eye.
Timothy Sullivan: 22:31
Yeah. Okay. Let me get this open. Okay. So again, the brand is Tsukasaboton and this is their Tokubetsu Junmai. Tsukasabotan means King of the peony. So that’s what really the brewery name means. And this is a brewery that’s been around for a long time. Founded in 1603. Yeah. Yes. Now you mentioned Ryoma Sakamoto a moment ago. That was a samurai who was born in Kochi and lived from around the 1836, 1835 until 1867. And he’s Kochi’s most famous historical figure by far. He died right before what’s known as the Meiji Restoration, which is when the power went from the Shogun, uh, to the back to the emperor. And he was a proponent of that. And he wrote, a treatise called Senchu Hassaku or the eight point plan. And he wrote these ideas for reforming the government, which was under the Shogun or a military dictator and the ideas that he came up with in this treatise a lot of them were used for the Meiji government, which followed in 1868, but he got assassinated because some people in the, the shogunate government didn’t like these ideas. So he is kind of, um,
John Puma: 24:08
when you go against the military? Uh, dictators, sometimes the military dictator doesn’t like that. And wow. Military dictator has assassins.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:17
Okay, shocking. I know, but he became, he became a symbol of kind of the modernization of Japan, pulling Japan out of the isolation period, these new reformation ideas. And his statue is everywhere in
John Puma: 24:34
Yeah, it’s literally everywhere.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:37
This sake Senchu Hassaku is named after that treatise that he wrote the eight point plan for reforming the government. And that is the exciting historical background on the name of this sake I think it’s interesting.
John Puma: 24:53
It’s, it’s interesting. I see imagery representing Sakamoto san on a lot of Tsukasaboton’s products like, I think that they feel like he represents Kochi, they represent Kochi and they’re kind of co-promoting.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:09
Well, don’t forget the brewery was founded in 1603. So the brewery was already 230 years old when this guy was born.
John Puma: 25:17
Okay. that’s amazing.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:19
So I bet you, he drank and enjoyed sake from Tsukasabotan for sure. So they are very invested in their local history and he’s like the main guy. So there’s a strong connection between the history of the brewery. And the history of the Prefecture and I think this figure ties it all together. So that’s why they named this after his most famous writing. And, uh, yeah, so let’s give it a smell. Okay. This smells dry and clean. The rice, the flavor is not fruity, but very gentle grainy, aroma smells clean and smells light.
John Puma: 26:03
sounds very kochi. Kochi somewhat known for dryer sake
Timothy Sullivan: 26:09
I think among the 18 sake breweries in Kochi of course there’s modern styles, but the traditional regional style, as you just said, is very famous for being more dry and more robust. Niigata’s those dry, but it’s light, clean and water-like but Kochis a little bit more. Forward and a little bit more rustic, but dry. And this has that type of aroma, ricey-ness a little bit of lactic or kind of a milk cream aroma and grain, or a ricey notes come through and let’s give it a taste. Oh my gosh. It is dry clean. And it, it has a bit of a bite to it in the best possible way. It is smooth, but it, it has that dryness, that kinda clips the back of your palate and it’s not soft and water-like like that. Niigata sake talking about, this is more robust, more full bodied, but it’s so elegant too. And it has a really pronounced to dry finish. So if you are a dry sake lover, more on the robust side, Kochi is the place for you. Don’t you agree?
John Puma: 27:27
Timothy Sullivan: 27:28
I think so.
John Puma: 27:29
That’s, that’s, that’s a fact. And this, you said this was
Timothy Sullivan: 27:32
this is so plus eight
John Puma: 27:35
That is a, that is pretty dry.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:38
I think of all, I am thinking back to all the sakes we’ve had over the last dozens of episodes. And I think this may be one of the driest we’ve ever had.
John Puma: 27:49
I want to say, as far as sucking a meter value, it’s almost certainly
Timothy Sullivan: 27:53
John Puma: 27:55
Timothy Sullivan: 27:55
Yeah. And this is such, such a great sake It’s really elegant. But it has body and it has dryness and it’s just really great.
John Puma: 28:10
Hmm. And what’s the mouth feel like
Timothy Sullivan: 28:11
You know, when you sip on something like a martini or you sip on a sip of vodka, it kind of dries the sides of your, of your tongue a little bit. You get a little bit of that drying quality on, on the palate when you sip a sake this dry, this void of sugar. So it is a really bracing. That’s a good word for it. It’s a bracing, sake dry bright and full. Really nice. It is so good. And we’ve had a wide variety of styles over the last few episodes, some fruity, some lighter, and this is a really nice change of pace.
John Puma: 29:00
It sounds great. Sounds wonderful. Sounds uh, that was pretty fantastic. I’ve had this not in a very long time.
Timothy Sullivan: 29:07
Oh my gosh. Super yummy. All right. So John, we are going to go from Ryoma Sakamoto over to you to whales What’s the deal with the whales?
John Puma: 29:19
So the whales, uh, Suigei, uh, means drunken whale. Uh, I do not condone feeding alcoholic beverages to sea mammals. I think that is, uh, you know, maybe that’s how beaching happens. I don’t know.
Timothy Sullivan: 29:32
No whales were harmed in the making of this episode.
John Puma: 29:34
Exactly, exactly. However, like we mentioned earlier, whale iconography very popular in Kochi. Can’t go down the street without seeing photos of whales or, paintings, et cetera. So, so we get to making their brand “drunken whale” makes a lot of sense. The brewery though, comparably a baby to next to tsukasaboton uh, 1872. So they actually didn’t come into existence until a couple of years after Sakamoto san passed away.
Timothy Sullivan: 30:10
Yes. So we know for sure that, Ryoma Sakamoto never drank Suigei.
John Puma: 30:15
That is, this seems to be extraordinarily unlikely that he would have. Yeah. So I’m going to open this one up, give it a pour.
Timothy Sullivan: 30:38
We talked about the label on my I think your, your label, your label deserves a mention too.
John Puma: 30:44
So it is. He’s simple white label with a silhouette of a vertical whale tail. And it’s very cool. It’s very striking. It’s something that when you see it on a shelf, you, you can’t miss it. It’s definitely the one with the whale tail on it. and as I mentioned earlier, this is using that gin no yume rice. It is milled down to 50% remaining. I believe I had also mentioned earlier that the sake meter value since the sets, seems to be an interesting topic when we’re talking about this kochi sake is +6.7. So it’s, it’s still higher than like any other sake we’ve done on the show. Um, but it is not as high as yours. With that, that plus eight. So on the nose here, it is not as it doesn’t have that, that, ricey aroma that a lot of their sake has. It doesn’t come off as crisp on the nose either. It’s kind of a light kinda somewhat fruity aroma, very, very faintly, fruity citrusy, very pleasant. And then the flavor is also kind of, I kind of atypical of their classic style. So it’s a it’s moving into this kind of newer, more modern style for Kochi but I think it’s still kind of represents it is very dry. very clean finish the citrus notes play around in the middle. They’re not getting a lot of like melon or other tropical fruit on this. Some nice umami as well. The mouthfeel is a little light. It kind of just it’s it’s here and it’s gone. It doesn’t, it doesn’t stick around very much. And again, the finish is nice and light and then it’s gone and then, um, and you want to have another sip? It isn’t very easy sipping. Uh, this falls into that, Oh, where did that bottle go? Kind of category where you can accidentally really get carried away with it. Cause it’s very sippable very light. and then on top of that, it’s gonna go really well with like so much of kochi sake It’s going to go very well with, food that is a little heavier, a little greasier. I would love to have this with fish and chips.
Timothy Sullivan: 33:08
yeah. The sake that you’re drinking. I’ve had that many times as well, and it is a higher SMV. That’s 6.7. So it’s on the high side, but it doesn’t drink like a super bone dry sake It’s got more balances, more well-integrated my sake is more one-sided in that they wanted to show you something super dry.
John Puma: 33:32
yours is aggressively dry. Mine is it’s dry. It’s in fact, I would still say it’s very dry. it’s, the dryness is definitely, is definitely, uh, present, but as you pointed out, it is, not the star of the show. And it’s not dominant, which is wonderful. It’s very well balanced off of the, other factors in it. It’s just a lovely, lovely sake
Timothy Sullivan: 33:53
yeah, true to their roots as a Kochi brewery, it has that dry backbone to it. But I find that your sake weaves in a lot of threads of different, nuances. So you’ve got that little citrus note going on a little bit of fruitiness and it, it has a lot going on and brings a lot of good balance to it. Very drinkable, very.
John Puma: 34:17
Oh yeah, definitely.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:18
Well, I want to thank you, John. Thanks for all the good memories from Kochi And I want to thank all our listeners for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying Sake Revolution. If you’d like to show your support for our show, one way to really help us out would be to take a couple of minutes and leave us a written review on Apple podcasts. It’s a great way to help us spread the word about our show.
John Puma: 34:40
And if for some reason you can’t get Apple podcasts, please go and tell a friend and get your friend to subscribe. And while you’re at it, don’t be a hypocrite. You should subscribe this way. Every week. When we publish a new episode of the show, it will magically show up on your device of choice and you will not miss an episode.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:57
and as always, if you would like to learn more about any of the topics. Such as Kochi or Ryoma Sakamoto or whales, or if you would like to learn more about any of the sakes we tasted in today’s episode, and you have to look at those labels, please be sure to visit our show notes at our website, SakeRevolution.com
John Puma: 35:21
I is that our big takeaway from today, Tim is that the Kochi’s label game is really strong.
Timothy Sullivan: 35:26
It’s one of the many takeaways from today.
John Puma: 35:29
all right? Um, and if you have sake questions that you need answered, we want to hear from you. Reach out to us. The email address is [email protected] So until next time, please remember to keep drinking sake and Kanpai!