Episode 59 Show Notes
Episode 59. On the final episode of our Shubo miniseries, we explore “Bodaimoto”. Our guide for today’s episode is Skurnik Wine’s Japan Portfolio manager Jamie Graves. Jamie has visited the Shorakuji temple, the home of Bodaimoto and he also imports one of the quintessential sakes of this genre, the Takacho “Regal Hawk” Junmai Muroka Genshu Bodaimoto. The name of the game is again lactic acid. Getting the right acidity levels helps the sake yeast to flourish. As Jamie explains, this sake is a portal back to a time when samurai craved sweeter sakes to balance out the funky, preserved food they enjoyed. While you won’t find a bodaimoto at every corner liquor shop, this fun and historical style is worth knowing about. Let’s dive in to this ‘time capsule’ brew and discover a style of sake any samurai would love.
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Skip to: 02:07
Jamie Graves is the Japan portfolio manager at Skurnik Wines, overseeing a fun and diverse portfolio of Japanese sakes. He is also a veteran of several top ranked Japanese restaurants which combined his hospitality skills and Japanese language ability which he learned while living in Japan for several years. Jamie is the perfect guest to guide us on all things bodaimoto for this week’s episode!
Skip to: 06:15
Bodaimoto is an ancient fermentation starter method. Bodai-moto is an ancient and complex fermentation starter method. You can consider it a pre-cursor to the Kimoto method which was invented in the Edo period. To create Bodai-moto, raw rice and a bit of steamed rice are left to soak in a small tub with water. While soaking, this water becomes rich in natural lactic acids given off by latic acid bacteria. After about three days, the rice is removed from the water and steamed.
Next, in the Moto tank, the Latic acid rich water is mixed with the steamed rice, some koji rice and yeast to create the moto. The latic acid in the water kills wild yeast and stray bacteria in the moto and allows the sake yeast to propagate without much microbial competition.
Bodaimoto video from Nara
Takacho Regal Hawk Junmai Muroka Genshu Bodaimoto
Classification: Bodaimoto, Genshu, Junmai, Muroka
Rice Type: Hinohikari
Brewery: Yucho Shuzo
This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!
Episode 59 Transcript
John Puma: 0:22
Hello everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast. I’m your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes. Also an administrator over at that internet Sake Discord as well as the accompanying subreddit R/sake over at Reddit I’m our resident sake nerd.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:41
And I am your host, Timothy Sullivan. I am a sake samurai. I’m a sake educator and also 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: 0:56
That is right Tim and now. This is the latest in our series on shubo,
Timothy Sullivan: 1:03
John Puma: 1:03
Timothy Sullivan: 1:04
Pretty soon. We’re going to need to have a series about all of our series, but it’s true. This is our shubo series. Again, that’s the fermentation starter. And if you want to catch up on the series, the last three episodes have taken us on a journey through fermentation starter land. And this one is the most unique and most rare
John Puma: 1:26
And what is that?
Timothy Sullivan: 1:27
Today we’re talking about a very unusual type of fermentation starter called bodaimoto, have you heard of this John?
John Puma: 1:35
I have heard of bodaimoto Tim, but I don’t know. I don’t know a lot about bodaimoto uh, how much do you know about bodaimoto?
Timothy Sullivan: 1:45
Well, you know, I’m not an expert either, but I think it’s time we phone a friend.
John Puma: 1:53
Can you still make, can you still make, who wants to be a millionaire references in 2021?
Timothy Sullivan: 1:57
I’m going for it.
John Puma: 1:59
All right. We’re going to find out, we’re going to find out
Timothy Sullivan: 2:02
I know a guy. I
John Puma: 2:04
know, a guy. All right. That’s timeless. I like that.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:07
Let me introduce our friend, Jamie Graves he is the Japan portfolio manager at Skurnik Wines, and he is a super knowledgeable guy about sake. And he has actually been to the spot where bodaimoto originated. So I don’t know anyone within a thousand mile radius who could help us more with this bodaimoto situation. So Jamie, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us.
Jamie Graves: 2:32
uh, yeah, thanks for having me. I’m, uh, I’m excited to listen to a bunch of these and excited to be on.
John Puma: 2:37
waiting with bated breath till we talked about bodaimoto. here it is,
Timothy Sullivan: 2:41
This is your moment, Jamie.
John Puma: 2:42
is this that your time to shine?
Timothy Sullivan: 2:45
So to get started, why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your journey into becoming a sake professional? How did that evolve?
Jamie Graves: 2:54
yeah right out of college I ended up getting an English teaching job in Japan. Just kind of wanted to live abroad found after a year there that I was a little bit more interested in Japanese food and drink than I was in teaching Japanese middle school children very basic English. Uh, so I, I stuck around in Japan for a couple more years, was working in uh, Japanese food, trying to learn as much as I could about various kinds of Japanese cuisine, um, knew a little bit about sake, but not much. And then when I moved back to New York, I was lucky enough to work in some great Japanese restaurants here in New York city. And that was when. Sort of my, uh, I guess you could say my sake journey really began just because, you know, most people go out to a Japanese meal dinner, and even if you have good wine, they’ll ask, for sake. And I realized I didn’t have much information and not many people around me had much information. Tim, you were actually one of the first sake experts that I met at all. And I remember thinking, oh wow. You know, you can do this. That’s amazing. but, uh, yeah, a lot of it was then sort of Taking what courses I could and teaching myself, uh, as much as I could. I, I, you know, got a bit of the language from having lived there for a couple of years. So I was lucky enough to be able to speak to a lot of brewers in their own language. So both at trade shows here in New York was, trying to talk to as many people as possible and get information. And then the few times, you know, I was very busy working in restaurants, not much time off, but the few times I did get. You get a chance to go back to Japan? I would try to visit sake breweries on my own time. Uh, meet people, learn as much as I could. and then a couple of years ago, was lucky enough this company Skurnik wines, uh, it’s a great family owned wine company that specializes in kind of small, family owned wineries generally. I heard they were looking to get into Japan and sake and I thought, Hey, that’s somewhere I want to be. So I kind of forced my way in the door. And then, um, here we are, that was almost four years ago now, which is crazy to think about.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:41
John Puma: 4:41
God, has it been that long?
Jamie Graves: 4:43
You know, 2020 didn’t really count as a year, but we can skip that one.
John Puma: 4:48
Timothy Sullivan: 4:50
Let’s explain first what Moto is. And that’s, as I mentioned at the very beginning of fermentation starter, and this is where the rice, the water yeast and Koji all come together for the first time so, Jamie wouldn’t you say that bodaimoto is the kind of the original or one of the oldest ways of making this fermentation starter that exists.
Jamie Graves: 5:15
I believe it’s the first actually I believe it’s the first time they did something like this. And I’m kind of a useful analogy that I’ve picked up not just for bodaimoto, but for all these starters is with 2020 sort of the idea of sourdough and making sourdough became much more familiar to a lot of people. And this is you know, we say starter it’s, basically serves the exact same function as a sourdough starter. It’s your sort of like small, intense, very microbe heavy small batch. And then you build up from that. you can like add more ingredients and build up from that. And it’ll, um, it’s sort of, like a strong little engine, of activity going on in there. And then the more you feed it, you can kind of build up to a larger fermentation starters, whether that’s sourdough bread or in our case, talking about sake
Timothy Sullivan: 5:56
Yeah, you want to make a really healthy colony of microbes. So when you move on to the main fermentation, you’ve got this. You know, really healthy, vibrant group of microbes that are going to be very viable when you move them to the main fermentation. That’s really an in, I think in a nutshell, that’s the role of this starter step. So what is unique about bodaimoto? Okay.
Jamie Graves: 6:21
so from what I understand, and Yeah. this is the first time they figured out kind of how to do this, to build this up. And it’s a it’s compared to the other styles. You’re basically just letting from what I understand, cooked rice, raw rice, uncooked rice, sit in water in small tanks, and then you just kind of step back and see what happens
Timothy Sullivan: 6:44
Yeah, so it’s like a soaking of the rice in water and microbes are going to fall in there.
Jamie Graves: 6:49
Yeah, microbes are gonna fall in there and it’s, it’s just much less, um, precise than some of the other methods. Uh, it’s more kind of prone to variation or even, you know, going bad. So from what I understand, when this is developed, and I’m sure we’re going to talk about the monks and the connection with Buddhism and all that stuff. Um, but it’s basically, from what I understand originally, you would make a bunch of these and hope that you could get a couple that worked. Out of it. It’s some, some might, just might not work. And then some, some would be like, oh, We got a nice kind of acidic result from us.
Timothy Sullivan: 7:24
We have to make sure everyone understands that we’re talking about hundreds of years ago, correct. That this was developed. They had no understanding of microbiology. So is that right?
Jamie Graves: 7:35
Yeah. Dates I think are fairly loose. I mean the, the sake, this specific sake we’re going to talk about today, they’re, they’re in the area where this was developed. And when I met with them the guy who makes this sake will reference like specific journals of monks back, like five, 600 years ago. Um, I think it’s still pretty unclear exactly when this started, but sometime in like the 1500s 1600s or so.
John Puma: 7:58
Timothy Sullivan: 8:00
So there’s a connection to a Buddhist temple and the creation of a fermentation starter method, way back hundreds and hundreds of years ago. What, what do we know about that?
Jamie Graves: 8:10
So this is I think, um, one of the most kind of dramatic things about, this methods specifically. And when I got to visit the temple where apparently not just a, this method was developed, but also, to get a little geeky and technical, there’s a thing called sandan shikomi, which is the idea of gradually building up your sake and make it really. Strong that? was also developed at this temple. They think maybe pasteurizing sake was developed here. There’s all kinds of notes around these things at this one specific temple called Shorakuji in Nara. And it’s not, uh, today it’s not really a major temple. So it’s very interesting when I was taken there by this sake maker. He wanted to take me to literally where the tank was being held in the in the temple where there was a, literally a Buddhist priest who was watching over this tank kind of, uh, going through the whole starter making process. And as we drove in, you’re driving up into the woods in these, mountains outside of the central Nara area where the cities are and whatnot. And, as we were driving up the talking maker was pointing out sort of the quality of the Hills, uh, that have the trees on them. And he’s like, do you notice anything about them? And I’m like, they look fairly even. And he’s like, this was all terraformed. He’s like this all used to be part of the temple complex. So when you, when you drive in there, there’s like, I think maybe three or four small buildings left in this, this temple complex. And there’s literally two priests left. There’s a current priest and his son, it’s like a hereditary thing. Often you’ll take over for your father, literally two people. And that’s the entire staff of this Buddhist temple. It used to be something like 2000 priests. And it was basically like a university. Buddhism had a lot of ties to China. A lot of priests would go to China to learn about Buddhism, but then also it was, you know, they were kind of the scholars of their day. So they were picking up all kinds of latest developments and information and all kinds of things, including fermentation. Um, and it was very much kind of a knowledge center and. Functioned kind of like a university with all kinds of different specialized people and people researching things. And that’s when they were developing a better and better sake, uh, as many of the things they were researching unfortunately the priests were a little bit too powerful for their own good. And they kind of got on the wrong side of a bunch of different, uh, samurai and they, because they had their own sort of source of power. So just by. All sorts of things over the years, taxes, not even direct, fighting or violence necessarily, but the samurai were so threatened by this base of power. They would create all sorts of kind of laws and things to basically reduce the power of these temples. So it literally shrunk from like a 2000 person. Essentially a university down to what is now just two people, uh, kind of holding the flame of this little organization or it’s, it’s pretty dramatic. and I never would’ve noticed that unless they’d pointed out to me that all of the lands around there had been developed and now they’re, they’re kind of overgrown forest, but if you look at the Hills, they’re actually, even then you could build buildings on them again.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:05
Jamie Graves: 11:07
Yeah. Nara is the oldest part. oh, Japan. I mean, oldest is the oldest part of kind of the Imperial Japanese civilization or the first emperor was based in like the 700s and the first capital. And there’s, it’s a pretty dramatic place to visit. The highest building in the entire prefecture in the entire area is a five story pagoda. There’s nothing higher than that. And That’s literally, it’s some of the oldest buildings or some of the biggest, and that still remains the case today. There’s a very much a presence of history there that you feel that all over Japan, but I think specifically there.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:40
This bodaimoto temple. Sounds like the original sake university. I love it. I, this is on my bucket list now for sure. I ha I have to go there.
John Puma: 11:49
That sound like a good trip to make. So you, you mentioned, that what we’re doing here is, taking the rice and putting it in water. They’re kind of letting literally nature take it’s course with that now. Is it, has that, is that technique, is that literally what they’re still doing now when they do this? Or have they found ways to guide that process? Uh, or is it they’re still just,
Jamie Graves: 12:10
I honestly don’t know enough to know if, specific ways they’re guiding it. I don’t think it’s quite as haphazard as it used to be. I mean, you know, they understand. Microbiology. I mean, it was hilarious when I visited, cause I went with two Narasake makers, and then we started talking to the priest and they started talking very deep geeky fermentation stuff that you normally only hear in sake breweries. And we were in a Buddhist temple and one of them at one point turned to me, they’re like you ever heard anything like this? You know, outside of a sake brewery I’m like, certainly not. You know, the priest was trust there in his robes. It was, a pretty funny experience. So yeah, the, in terms of how are they guiding it? I think there’s more understanding about temperature and ideal environments, but really the idea of making it at this temple is they know that you know, a lot of these starters, these, these shubo I know that some of the more traditional ones Like Kimoto in Yamahai, I’ve talked to some brewers and they say they can’t some breweries say we can’t make Yamahai like, we just don’t have a good microbial balance. And any time we try to make it, it doesn’t really work around here. And then I’ve heard other people say, oh, we’ve got a very good for whatever reason, the conditions are quite good here in terms of temperature and the microbes that live around here. So yeah, for whatever reason at that temple, they, they still have kind of a, good, healthy climate to make a sake starter in.
Timothy Sullivan: 13:23
Yeah. So when the microbes begin to develop in that water rice mixture, what they’re aiming for is the development of lactic acid, right. That creates a good clean. High acid environment in which the sake yeast is going to love when it goes in. So this is a way to develop that, right.
Jamie Graves: 13:42
Yeah, exactly. So it’s, I mean, that’s kind of the unique thing here, and this is what you’re getting out of. You know, really all of these different starter methods is getting that sort of clean, acidic water that develops naturally from lactic acid bacteria. It’s what gives sake. It’s, you know, it’s balanced, it’s a little kind of sour or acidic kind of balance it snap at the end. And this is the first time they literally make it for that acidic water. Like that’s like, they’re looking at basically what to get that water out of it. And then use that as the kind of base for building up from there. so that’s almost like having a I’m sure, you know, Tim is, you know, having a nice, clean slate, having a nice blank canvas. That’s very easy for yeast and sake to kind of do its thing on as opposed to, if you didn’t have that, it would be kind of already a somewhat muddied canvas. So you gotta have, the yeast has to work harder around these things.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:34
Yeah, it’s a battlefield micro battlefield in there. So when you visited this temple where they currently brewing a batch of the bodaimoto when you visited.
Jamie Graves: 14:49
Uh, they were. Yeah. Um, so it’s, it’s a single tank that gets made every year. So maybe I’ll talk a little bit about the bodaimoto project. So this is something that was started in 1996. I know that we said this dates back all the way back to the 1500s. But you know, when they found methods that were a little bit more consistent or a little bit easier, or the way trends and sake tastes were going. People decided that these other methods, they, they kind of liked the way those taste a little bit better. This sort of fell out of favor and I don’t think really anybody, was doing this. It was it was much harder. It was less consistent results. So it was specifically this one brewery, Yucho Shuzo and we’re going to try their bodaimoto expression today. There are local Nara brewery and they’re very historically minded. The current president, he’s the 13th generation of his family to run the brewery they’ve been around since 1719, and his father specifically started this project. His father was really into history and the history of sake. And when I visited and met with Yamamoto san his son, we literally sat down and talked about the history of sake for two hours before we did anything else. Like he started pulling books off of shelves and I’m talking about, you know, monks, things like this. So it was really his, his father knowing the history of sake and knowing how it had been made in Nara. He thought, wouldn’t this be an interesting kind of historical thing?, so it’s not the main way that they make their sake. There’s a lot of other great sake they make under the brand Kaze No Mori, which is much more bright and clean and kind of modern in style, really delicious one and the bodaimoto, couldn’t be more different. It’s very like thick and acidic and kind of got a lot of great weight to it. So it was Yamamoto san’s’ father said, Hey, let’s kind of bring this back. Let’s work with the monks let’s work with the local temple would be kind of an interesting project. And they roped together. I think it was 19 other local Nara breweries that everybody.
John Puma: 16:38
Jamie Graves: 16:39
Yep. So every, uh, so it was 20 in total. I think to begin with 20 in total, I think it’s dwindled about 12. Cause it’s a little bit difficult to make these things. So the ideas, you know, the, they make the starter at the temple and then that gets divided up and sent to all of these different breweries. And everybody gets to make their own expression of bodaimoto how they want to. Um, so some people make very non-traditional bodaimoto that are much more kind of like lighter, like still have a lot of, weight and acid, but are, more modern style. Whereas these guys, Yucho Shuzo. They really wanted to make a very old school classic kind of big rich sweet bodaimoto overall. so that’s kind of the origins of the Bodaimoto project.
Timothy Sullivan: 17:17
Wow. That’s so interesting. It’s like living history. It’s so fascinating. And they take, they take that bodaimoto water starter and bring it back to their brewery and they pitched the yeast at their brewery. And begin the fermentation there. Wow. That’s so interesting. Very cool.
Jamie Graves: 17:35
Um, yeah, I think they wanted it to be like, not just one brewery, but they wanted to make it kind of a Nara thing. Like promote Nara sake overall. It makes something kind of unique to the area.
John Puma: 17:44
I love it when, uh, when groups of breweries get together and do projects like that, it’s always it’s always fun and brings a little bit of uniqueness and I always put a smile on my face. I’m kind of curious. I want to taste this. I want to know what this is all about. so luckily, we have the Takacho Regal Hawk bodaimoto Junmai Muroka Genshu which is a part of that project. And if I’m not mistaken, Uh, it was made at that at the very brewery that you mentioned, kind of got this whole, this whole thing started
Jamie Graves: 18:16
Yeah. Um, from what I understand, they were really the, um, the people that spearheaded the whole thing and kind of roped in a bunch of other local Nara Breweries to everybody make their own different, um, expression of Bodaimoto.
Timothy Sullivan: 18:27
Yeah. So I’m just going to read off the stats for this sake that we’re tasting today. As John mentioned, it’s Takacho Regal Hawk. Junmai Muroka Genshu. It uses the Hino Hikari rice polished to 70% remaining acidity. Plus three alcohol is 17% and probably most noteworthy for us, the SMV or that measurement of density of the sake, which gives us a sense of how sweet or dry it may taste. This comes in at around minus 25. Which gives me a little signal. This might be a touch on the sweet side. So those are the, those, those are the stats for this sake. And, uh, John, what do you say? Let’s get this open and into the glass
John Puma: 19:11
Those are the stats for the sake. That might be a record for the show. I, I have a feeling I’m not sure, but if it’s not the, if it’s not the. Lowest SMV we’ve ever had. It’s definitely a contender.
Jamie Graves: 19:25
So, yeah, I mean Japan used to like their sake sweet. Um, this is kind of an interesting thing I’ve learned more and more about is the Japanese diet used to be very kind of salty and funky. Um, a lot of preserved foods, a lot of like, pickled things of various kinds and pickled fish, pickled vegetables, um, also, uh, funky fermented stuff, and there’s a lot of. Japanese foods that I had, I remember the first time I had them, I was like, why would anybody eat this? Like, if you guys have ever had, shiokara, shiokara, I now love, but it’s, it’s a fermented, um, squid parts and it’s, it’s kind of like very intensely salty and funky. And I was like, what, you know, what is, this is a dish. It only makes sense to me if you have it with some sake next to it, because the sake kind of, um, Tempers, all those extremely funky things. So if you imagine that that’s a big part of your diet, these like very salty or very vinegary and like funky fermented flavors having a sweet sake to kind of contrast it with, it really makes a lot of sense. Whereas now So, much of the Japanese diet is much more, you know, they’ve got Wagyu beef, they’ve got, you know, all kinds of fatty, rich foods. And so you generally would maybe want a dryer sake to go with that. So that’s kind of the, the reason that it’s a very old school style of sake and it is very sweet. It’s not a coincidence.
John Puma: 20:41
Hmm. So, so Tim, what is the first thing that you’re noticing when you pour this?
Timothy Sullivan: 20:45
well holding up the glass, I noticed there’s a very distinct color cast to this and almost a little bit of haze to it as well. Like it’s not,
John Puma: 20:56
Timothy Sullivan: 20:56
not clear. It’s not, it’s not like a nigori, it’s not cloudy, but there there’s a cast of color and a haze to it. So let’s give it a smell.
John Puma: 21:07
Timothy Sullivan: 21:08
Very unique aroma,
John Puma: 21:10
There’s a lot going on here.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:12
very deep. Complex. The first thing that I smell is kind of like a, hay aroma. Almost like barnyard, like it smells like it smells like a little bit of, Hey John, what do you, what do you think?
John Puma: 21:29
Honestly, I haven’t been a barnyard in such a long time that I can’t, I can’t go with you on that journey. Um, but it’s, so it’s like adjacent to that, like sweet, like almost caramel nose something, I have a hard time identifying.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:44
Yeah, I, that totally makes sense to me, like a little bit of a caramel sauce
John Puma: 21:49
Timothy Sullivan: 21:50
uh, that depth of caramelized sugar, that, that little bit of a deep caramel flavor is definitely there on the nose.
John Puma: 22:00
Yeah. And, and honestly it comes up, it’s like, it’s almost like a lighter interpretation of that caramel which for me, like that sort of thing is like, uh, it comes across a little, um, Oh, hot and heavy to me. And this comes the nose on. This comes across kind of like a little bit lighter, a little bit sweeter.
Jamie Graves: 22:19
Are you getting any fruit in the nose at all? Or.
Timothy Sullivan: 22:22
Definitely, but I would say like, almost like poached pears or something like that. Like a little bit of a deep candied pear aroma is something that comes across from me. What, what to, uh, other tasters usually say Jamie, when they, when they smell this,
Jamie Graves: 22:41
Are, you know, the classic, uh, sake tasting notes of And I think maybe I’m conflating a little bit, the flavor that you taste versus the aromas that you get, but the kind of, um, you know fresh apple, that kind of Japanese apple, that’s more sweet than the very like tart American apples. bit of those kind of classic tasting notes in there. But I always think of this as it’s funny, I’m so used to this, that I almost skipped past all of those initial impressions. You guys are getting of hay and things like that. And I just think of how intensely. Like fruity. It is to me. And maybe by intensely fruity, I’m thinking of that candy pear thing you’re talking about where it’s like, like concentrated fruit.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:15
Well, when we talk about extremely fruity on this show, we usually mean like a ginjo-ka you know, like the tropical fruits that are very fresh and juicy, and that’s not really what this is. This has kind of a candied richer, more funky aspect to it.
John Puma: 23:33
Yeah. That’s like, when you, when you said fruit, I was like, I don’t, I can’t, I don’t follow that. And then you said candied and I was like, oh yeah. Now, now that I’m like putting it, putting that, that filter in my mind of like, okay. Now think about candied fruit fruits that you’ve had before and now I’m like, oh yeah. Okay. Now I can, now I can see that.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:53
And I mean, no disrespect by this, but think about something like a fruit roll-up too, you know, when you smell, when you smell that fruit it’s. Been preserved in a way. And it adds a deeper dimension to the, it’s not the fresh version of the fruit, but it’s more of a preserved version of the fruit. And, uh, it, that is something that kind of pops up to me as well.
John Puma: 24:16
can, I can, I can see that. I can definitely see that.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:20
All right. Well, let’s give this a taste. Here we go. it very easy drinking, very sweet
Jamie Graves: 24:31
Timothy Sullivan: 24:32
and a super bright acidity on the finish. Yeah.
John Puma: 24:36
is bizarre. I love it.
Jamie Graves: 24:41
It’s um, to me, it’s, it’s sweet, but it’s not cloying. Like there’s actually sake that some sake that by the numbers is less sweet than this and I’ll find it kind of really sticks to my palate and kind of will stick around. And sometimes I’m like, okay, I’ll, you know, time for this sweetness to go with this. This has a snap to it.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:59
Jamie Graves: 24:59
I really appreciate it.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:02
And, the texture and sweetness kind of reminds me of a German Icewine I don’t know if anyone’s ever said that before, but it’s, it’s got a richness and a thickness on the palate and the pronounced sweetness just makes me think of that. And I find that the, aroma, has a little bit more. Uh, umami to it, then, the taste. So the, for me, there was a little bit more funkiness in the aroma and the taste is really smooth and sweet and almost like cidery, it’s really, really good
John Puma: 25:38
Timothy Sullivan: 25:39
John Puma: 25:41
Timothy Sullivan: 25:41
got this apple, apple sweetness to it. Yeah,
John Puma: 25:44
this is I’ve never tasted anything like this.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:47
me neither. This is really unique.
Jamie Graves: 25:50
If people occasionally ask me because we don’t get very much of this to the U S I mean, as I described, there’s one starter tank that gets divided up among them. I think it’s 12 breweries now, and everybody makes a limited amount. So then, you know, beyond that, what we ended up getting in the U S is, is usually fairly fairly limited. People will sometimes ask me if they can’t get this, like, well, what do you have? That’s similar? Or what, what do you know out there that’s similar? And I’m like, well, not much.
Timothy Sullivan: 26:17
Yeah. Wow. So
John Puma: 26:19
this is also, I also think this is going to qualify, uh, in this household as crazy style. Definitely going to be something I’m going to put in front of the Mrs. Uh, and see what she thinks. I think this’ll be appreciated.
Jamie Graves: 26:32
I think she might dig it. I’d find her. I know what she likes.
John Puma: 26:35
Timothy Sullivan: 26:36
John Puma: 26:37
I’m just surprised that I am enjoying this as much as I am. It’s definitely not. a, John Puma sake. That is not the case here, but this is a very, very tasty and exciting. I like this.
Timothy Sullivan: 26:48
Yeah. So you mentioned that restaurants purchase this, uh, what, uh, the, the food pairing that popped to my mind right away was like blue cheese. Like I want blue cheese with this sweet, apple-y deeply flavored. sake. And are there any other pairings from restaurants you’ve worked with that, you know, work really well with this super unique sake?
Jamie Graves: 27:12
I mean, I think blue cheese is an excellent example. I mean, my example of shiokara a much more classic Japanese example is a. You don’t find it very much in B it’s a little hard. I. You can’t see right now, Tim’s making a face and a thumbs down sign, which
John Puma: 27:26
Uh, which I am mirroring actually, uh, is not my kind of thing.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:30
I have to say Jamie, you before when you described shiokara you said it was squid parts. That’s a little being, a little generous. It is squid, intestines and guts that are
Jamie Graves: 27:40
Oh, I know. I know. I, I, I was trying to kind of, you know,
John Puma: 27:44
He’s he’s being transparent to our listeners is, is Tim by letting them know the details of this wonderful dish that we think is, uh, is, is very, culturally important to the people of Japan that we just don’t enjoy.
Jamie Graves: 27:58
so yeah, blue cheese is, it’s kind of an excellent example. You know, there’s very, very few places in the U S that are thinking about sake and cheese like that. So I haven’t really seen that much. As a pairing, I know that. Sakamai, occasionally likes to do things with cheese. That chef has Japanese chef likes to get really excited about cheese and sake pairings. But, um, yeah, I mean, how, how did people use this?, I know that, uh, some sushi places, for example, like it with a, hikarimoto, um, sort of the, the cured silver fish that tend to be a little bit vinegary and things like that. They like to offset these kind of a little bit sharper flavors with it. Some people have done it with, with fatty, tuna, Toro, things like that. Personally, I would love to have this with something like a, like a blue cheese, if you’re having it at home, that’s one of my favorite things to have at home is a little bit of a great cheese and a sake pairing.
Timothy Sullivan: 28:50
Yeah. This has the acidity at the finish to cut the fattiness and the saltiness of a blue cheese. I think it would be, you know, really, really good. Yeah.
Jamie Graves: 28:59
Yeah. One time on it when I showed this at an event, uh, when my company was sort of talking about these different shubo starters, um, and we serve this both slightly chilled and warm and it’s really, really delicious warmed up actually gets a little bit broader and sweeter. Normally I don’t think of fruity things like this is something I would want to do warm, but this one, like everybody was kind of flipping out about it
Timothy Sullivan: 29:22
So I have one final question about the production of this sake, because we mentioned they make the beginnings of the, the beginnings of the Bodaimoto at the Buddhist temple, then that’s divided up and the brewery takes that. Acidic water back to the brewery. They pitch the yeast, they start to ferment. This is such a unique and kind of like time capsule sake. Do you know of anything that they do at the brewery differently? Like did they brew it at room temperature only or any other insight into the production process to make this unique brew?
Jamie Graves: 30:00
Yeah, I think they definitely, so that the place where this has made is actually they’ve got a lot of great kind of modern equipment there and it lets them really, you know, control what they want to do. But with this again, because they want this, as you said to be kind of a time capsule, there. Trying to mimic the conditions as much as they can, from what they know of the time period. So, you know, less, uh, intense temperature control. Letting it ferment a little bit warmer. It’s really interesting talking to these folks and, their level of historical knowledge is kind of crazy. where so many sake breweries I’ve visited. You’ll ask about what their philosophy of sake making is. And they’ll say we strive to make the best sake possible.
John Puma: 30:38
I think I’ve heard that one before.
Jamie Graves: 30:40
Yeah. and with these guys, they’ve got a very strong sense of, oh, this is what the history is. Like. We like to make these very intense, modern styles. We’d like to make these kinds of really cool throwback things. Like they’ve got a really good sense of exactly what they want to make.
John Puma: 30:53
Well, Tim, I think, uh, I think we got a bit of an education today.
Timothy Sullivan: 30:56
yes. I feel like I’ve been to the 15th century and back. This is amazing.
John Puma: 31:02
and you brought along some sake.
Timothy Sullivan: 31:03
Yes. Yeah, this is, you know, when we teach sake classes, Jamie, we say like, oh, in the past, and the edo period, sake was a lot sweeter than it is today. And it’s like, oh, you just say, you say that. And you’re like, okay, whatever it is totally different to sit down, pour a glass and drink it and be like, this is what w this is what samurais for drinking, blowing my mind right now. This is amazing.
Jamie Graves: 31:28
yeah, so I’d love to mention kind of a couple of places. Places you can find this because as I mentioned, I mean, normally it is you know, not the easiest thing to find necessarily there’s a company that imports it in New Mexico that we get it from. So we get a certain amount to the east coast and a certain amount that goes to California. But. You know, lucky for, uh, your listeners. Normally this is something that restaurants are very excited to bring on. And just because of the past year you know, normally it’s snatched up pretty quickly, but it’s hasn’t moved nearly as quickly as it does in the past. Next time you’re in Japan. Next time you’re in Nara. My recommendation for everybody’s in the Jr Nara station. Uh, when you leave the set of ticket gates if you go straight in that building, there’s a department store and literally if you go straight and you go through the doors and pretty much immediately on your left, there’s a very small little sake shop there and they carry. Almost every kind of bodaimoto there. Um, you can recognize them by a very distinctive sticker at the top. It’s a gold sticker that looks like a, like a pot, like an urn. and, that’s literally an illustration of the, pot or the vessel that makes the starter, um, that is then divided up for the breweries.
John Puma: 32:30
And, uh, for our listeners at home, that it’s actually on this bottle that we’re drinking from today. So if you see this on a bottle in a shop we’re going to have this in the show notes. This is definitely from that bodaimoto project.
Jamie Graves: 32:42
Yeah, other people are making kind of variations on this style, but if you want something with the one we’ve talked about today, it’s looking for that gold sticker at the top. And there’s that great little shop in JR Nara station little sake shop, uh, despite that they carry a ton of great local Narasake. You can find things there. If you’re not Nara or for some reason, can’t go to Japan. I don’t know why you. Wouldn’t be able to,
John Puma: 33:02
Jamie Graves: 33:04
um, if here in, um, specifically in New York I know Kuraichi, which is a sake shop in Brooklyn in industry city in sunset park, uh, is carrying some of it and their sister restaurant right next door, waku waku who is very excited to be serving this as well right now. Um, so definitely at least, hopefully for the next few weeks to the next couple of months, uh, they’ll still have some and you can be able to try it.
Timothy Sullivan: 33:26
fabulous. And if people want to learn more about you or your work with Skurnik, what’s the best way for people to learn about your sake portfolio and how to reach out to you.
Jamie Graves: 33:35
definitely so easiest way to find out about all that. Uh, we’ve got a great website. Uh, just skurnik.com. That’s S K U R N I k.com. Uh, there’s a blog on there called Skurnik Unfiltered and we’ve written a whole. A bunch of different kind of blog posts and articles about various topics within sake that, definitely does feature, uh, some things that we carry. But I also just like to talk about sake in general, as much as possible. Had a whole lengthy post on the history of Nara and sake, which talks a lot about these things. And yeah, and you can find out, uh, also all of the sake that we carry are listed on there. Um, and we’re adding even in 2021, we’re adding more and more new sake. Um, and I’m excited to, to bring things that have never come to the us before should hopefully be coming to us later this year.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:17
I thought Skurnik unfiltered only talked about nigori.
John Puma: 34:21
I thought we decided that we weren’t going to call it that.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:27
Jamie, that was awesome. I learned so much. I feel like I’ve traveled back in time. I have Nara on the top of my. Bucket list for Japan. Now, when I go back, I was fabulous having you on. Thank you so much for joining. Yes,
Jamie Graves: 34:41
Thank you guys for having me. This is a lot of fun.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:43
absolutely. Jamie was so great. I want to thank you so much for joining us. And I also want to thank our listeners so much for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying our show. If you would like to show your support for sake revolution, one way you can 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 for us to get the word out about our show.
John Puma: 35:05
And when you’re done writing your written review on apple podcasts, please go and tell a friend and also subscribe and then pass to your friend a little bit and get them to subscribe to a, this way. Every week when we release a new episode, it will show up magically on your device of choice and you will not miss a single episode.
Timothy Sullivan: 35:24
and as always to learn more about Bodaimoto or Jamie Graves or any of the topics we talked about in today’s episode, be sure to visit our website, SakeRevolution.com for all the detailed show notes.
John Puma: 35:37
And for all of your sake questions that you need answered, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us. The email address is [email protected]. So until next time, please remember to keep drinking sake and Kanpai! Oh, it was
Timothy Sullivan: 35:59
yay. we did it.
Jamie Graves: 36:01