As mentioned in an earlier entry, we were invited to the Kisaki Reception in Aoyoma, which was held on November 26, 2021. Iwai Omotesando, the venue, is comfortable and attractive, making it the ideal place for sampling the exceptional output of Yoshinotomo Shuzo. Kisaki, the translation of which is “queen,” delivers on the regal in spades. In our estimation, her highness is embodied in “Kisaki 18 Red,” an opulent nihonshu made from Yamada Nishiki rice “self-cultivated in Toyama Prefecture.” The polishing rate is 18%, which means that it has been highly polished, and the abv 15%. The price, excluding tax, is ¥35,000. If there is a duchess in this royal hierarchy, it is undoubtedly “Kisaki 50 Black,” which shares a similar profile to that of “Kisaki 18 Red,” except here the polishing rate is 50%, and the price is ¥3,000, excluding tax. As impressive as these two royals are—and that assertion is indisputable!—it was a minor princess and her simple retinue of lemon and salt that beguiled us with both her performance on the palate and the realization of the potential she holds as an emissary to those unfamiliar with the extraordinary pleasures of nihonshu. The beverage is Kisaki Rock and Salt (KRS), with the rock being of the ice variety. KRS is a Yamada Nishiki based nihonshu with an abv of 9%. The price for a 200ml bottle is ¥800, excluding tax. It is consumed with lemon and salt, as in the picture below. The salt, the lemon, and the sake come together to form a palatable libation that should appeal to nearly all novice sake drinkers and quite a few seasoned ones, as well. There is great potential here.
If there is a baroness here, she comes in the form of Nakadori 18, which also has a polishing rate of 18%. Nakadori is the middle take when pressing sake. It is often deemed the most premium part of the pressing due to its good balance in terms of aroma and taste. This was indeed opulent and highly aromatic.