Call us old fashioned, but we have a thing about words. We find emoji-infused missives and the like not only irritating but inadequate, as well. Is that ubiquitous smiley face conveying happiness or smugness? Perhaps neither. After all, it bears a certain resemblance to the unchanging gaze of that ax-wielding psycho of slasher film fame who keeps mumbling something about having barbecue in the basement, doesn’t it? Simply put, nuance is a nonstarter with emojis. What does this have to do with the nihonshu under review? Well, for starters, the name “Macho.” This is a series produced by Makino Shuzo, Gunma’s oldest sake brewery, which is located on the outskirts of Takasaki City. We have written about the brews in this series before, each one a bit different but all noteworthy. This one features a female bodybuilder on the label. It may appear to be a bit of a misnomer in this case, but if you consider the definition of macho, it is not: macho: “Tending to display masculine characteristics, such as domineering, fierceness, bravado, etc., in ways that are showily and histrionically tough.” [Wikitionary]
This is an unpasteurized (nama) sake, sweet with no perceptible acidity. It weighs in at 15% abv. It is rich and puissant, to be sure. It may even pump up your pecs. The sake was made with 100% Aiyama rice, which is a sake rice that is notoriously hard to cultivate. The rice polishing ratio for this sake is 80%, making it highly “unpolished.”
We would say that this sake conducts itself con fuoco, in other words, in a fiery (bold) manner. Check out Dvorak’s New World Symphony. You’ll see what we mean.
Recently we paid a brief visit to the brewery store in Takasaki. We bought a spring sake under their standard Osakazuki (大盃) label, which was also very good but a bit more refined with a higher rice polishing ratio. Sadly, the Macho series is not available for purchase at the brewery store. The series is only available through a limited number of specialty sake shops.