Senkin is a sake brewery located in Sakura-shi, Tochigi Prefecture. The prefecture is perhaps best known for being the location of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nikko. However, to some people, like one of us here at drinkingjapan.org, the area in and around Nikko appears to be the annual epicenter for the release of prodigious amounts of cedar pollen in late winter and early spring. For those so affected, a visit to Senkin might best be planned for other times.
There are a number of aspects of this sake that make it special. The most prominent—because it is the most unexpected—is the fact that the producers use 80% Australian rice. The remaining 20% is Yamada Nishiki. People do not usually associate Australia with nihonshu, but one of us here at drinkingjapan.org remembers drinking an Australian sake in Sydney over twenty years ago, and it was good. Nihonshu often goes very well with some of the things they throw on the Barbie down there. Sorry that should have been a lower-case “b.” A second interesting feature is its high acidity, which seems to leave the mouth watering for nearly a minute. This is balanced by pronounced sweetness. The sweetness reminds us of Kijoshu, a type of sake we covered here.
Senkin Opus is a very pale shade of lemon. It has cotton candy and fruit on the nose, with a slight hint of licorice. The body is medium (+) and the mouthfeel is silky. The abv is 15%, and the finish is long. When tasted immediately after opening the bottle, it has a bit of fizz to it. We sing the praises of this opus.