Sake Omiji Kijoshu Junmai Koshu 1978
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This fantastic 35 year old Sake has aromas of burnt toffee, caramelised sesame and dark chocolate. The beautiful soft, velvety palate has sweet flavours reminiscent of Oloroso sherry with rich caramel, sesame and ground coffee notes.
Founded in 1917, Ōmi Shuzō is located on the Eastern side of Lake Biwa, in Shiga-ken – about 50kms south of Tomita Shuzō. And their close proximity is no coincidence. Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and the water systems that flow from it are famed for their softness and purity. As water is one of sake’s fundamental ingredients, it is hardly surprising that the area is home to so many well-regarded kura. Ōmi Shuzō makes a broad range of sake, but it is their koshu (aged sake), the Ōmiji Junmai Kijōshu 1978, which enjoys an almost maniacal following. If we break down the components of its name, we can learn more about this fascinating sake. Junmai means “pure rice”, so no alcohol has been added during the brewing process. To make kijōshu (“noble brew sake”), the tōji adds a full-bodied sake from a previous season to the fermenting moromi instead of water. And finally, “1978” is the year that the sake was brewed – in this case the Ōmiji has been carefully aged in the kura since it was brewed 35 years ago.
Strikingly dark amber hued in the glass, with intensive aromas of molasses, toasted chestnut, bittersweet chocolate, shiitake and Asian spices, which follow through on the palate. Its deep, rich and complex flavour is balanced with a fruit sherry-like acidity and slightly bitter aftertaste – this is a sake to linger over and savour.