My friend Jeff arranged for Hosoda Bros to have a booth at the J-POP festival on July 19, 2014. Details on the festival are here. They will be pouring (so I understand) 420 L of sake. I asked what sake and he said three Aronia, a Junmai Nigori (“unfiltered sake”) from Niigata; Yukikage (“Snow Shadow”) a Tokubetsu (“special”) Junmai from Niigata; and Hakushika Tanuki.
So knowing that I am ever curious, Jeff came over with the Yukikage and the Hakushika Tanuki. To my surprise, the Hakushika was in a box!
Being game I got out two square and two round glasses (square for the box sake!). And poured out four glasses. I learned with wine to start “low” and go up, so tasted the box sake first. I will comment on the snow shadow later, but when I first tasted the Hakushika I thought I had mixed up my pours. While not quite the finish of a Niigata (it has a richer mouth feel after a sip) the quality was very good, and other than the finish I could have confused it with a Junmai from Niigata (The brewer, founded in 1662, is actually in Hyogo Prefecture, between Osaka and Kobe).
The sake is full bodied (as Hyogo Junmai in my expereince tends to be), with a slightly warm mouth feel, while dry there is just a taste of sweetness on the front of the tongue which allows it to go well with food with a kick. The finish is full bodied with a true sake taste (rather than water as with many Niigata sakes) as the finish. For those who care about these things, it is a 70% polished rice.
I have had it with some Indian shrimp tikka masala I made (yummy), with Chinese dumplings, and with knife cut noodles. It went well with all of them. Now for some Japanese food. I have only served it cold, but it is a sake that could be served warm if one wished. All I need is another box!