Ichidai Sakura Misen Junmai Ginjo | Saké Review

Sakurao B&D makes a variety of booze, including whiskey, gin, shochu, and sake. I enjoyed the distillery tour and tasted whiskey, but this article reviews its aromatic sake.

Ichidai Sakura Misen Junmai Ginjo | Saké Review

The Encounter

I added the Sakurao Brewery and Distillery visit to the itinerary of the sake journey to Hiroshima because of my curiosity about the official sake of the local ball club, Hiroshima Carps. The firm's premises were enormous enough to produce a variety of beverages: whiskey, gin, liqueur, sake, shochu, synthetic sake, and mirin. It doesn't provide brewery tours, but it does the distillery tour, which was fantastic. The guide showed us the old and new pot stills for single malt whiskey. It also makes gin with lovely local botanicals, including oyster shells!

The tour was insightful and understandable to beginners. I tasted the new pot, malt whiskey aged in the seaside warehouse, and the blended one with the seaside and aged in the mountainside of the region. I am unfamiliar with distillery tours, and it was my third time, but this tour greatly impressed me.

Even though the whiskey and gin made me slightly buzzed, I didn't forget to find sakes. It was Ichidai Misen, the awarded sake of the brewery part of this firm. As I visited in the sakura cherry blossoms season, I chose the spring seasonal Sakura Misen and returned home with the bottle in my backpack.

Pleasant Ginjo Aromas

Chilled, you might be surprised by the rich, fruity aromas of melon and Asian pear. Imagine the very tender part of the melon around the seeds. On a sip, the fundamental taste reminded me of the Hiroshima Carp sake, a smooth taste with subtle ricey notes. It is merely the exquisite version of the famous sake! The pleasant finish with an astringency of Asian pear, again around the seeds, follows.

Warmed to 70°C, I felt the mellow ricey body and an elegant outline. I thought it was warmed to about 50°C, but not. Well-crafted sake of this type, which brings out the goodness of rice, often does not feel overly heated even when the temperature increases. It is what Sakuishi-san, the izakaya/sake bar owner of  Wakamizu, showed me.

Tasted at Wakamizu (Kyoto) in April 2023

On the Label

Brewer: Sakurao Brewery & Distillery Co., Ltd.  at Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima
Type: junmai ginjo, ABV: 15-16%
Rice: Hattan Nishiki (55% polishing ratio)