A Taste of Autumn – Seasonal Sake Tasting 2013

A Taste of Autumn Sake Tasting 2013

Ah, the smell of Autumn is in the air! The leaves have begun to change color, and the air has turned crisp and cool. Okay, okay, that may not be totally true. This is Hawaii, and all the leaves are still green and it’s a balmy 80 degrees today. I was just trying to set the mood for our next sake tasting.

It’s a ONE-TWO COMBINATION PUNCH this Saturday, as we welcome a special guest from Japan and roll out some great seasonal sake for Fall. FIRST, our Autumn seasonal sake has arrived so we’ll be sampling THREEdifferent “Hiyaoroshi” from three separate sake breweries. SECOND, we have the pleasure of hosting Mr. Sakamoto of Honke Matsuura Sake Brewery (Narutotai Sake). Mr. Sakamoto will be at our shop pouring his wonderful sake and answering any questions you might have.

Wow, Autumn seasonal sake and Mr. Sakamoto pouring some great stuff from Narutotai. Sounds like all the makings of a great sake tasting this Saturday!

Saturday, November 23, 2013
5:00pm to 8:00pm

Here is the lineup for Saturday.
Otokoyama Hiyaoroshi


Tokubetsu Junmai

Tried this for the first time in our shop last year and we’re bringing it back again this year. From our friends way up North we bring you Otokoyama Hiyaoroshi. Crafted using the old school “Kimoto” method, this sake has depth with a nice balance of dryness and acidity. See the article to the right about some friends of ours who visited Otokoyama Brewery last year.


Urakasumi Hiyaoroshi
Tokubetsu Junmai

From one of the most well known and prestigious sake breweries in Japan, an elegant sake, smooth and light, from Miyagi prefecture. It begins with savory aromas of rice and fruit harmonized nicely together. It has a well balanced mild flavor with a soft texture and finish. Over the past few years this sake has been the fan favorite at our Hiyaoroshi tastings.

Wakatake Hiyaoroshi


Aki No Ki-Ippon

Tokubetsu Junmai

Onikoroshi translates to “Demon Slayer”, and this sake is so good it could slay a demon. Very smooth and alluring medium dry sake with a refreshing fruity aroma of muscat. Nicely balanced, expansive savory flavors. Light, smooth and rich type sake from Shizuoka prefecture.

Narutotai Ohtai
Yamahai Tokubetsu Junmai

New to Hawaii from Narutotai, this sake begins with a deep and complex aroma of steamed rice harmonized with cream and spice. It is a rich and full-bodied sake with smooth texture, expansive acidity and long aftertaste. Brewed using the old school Yamahai method, this should be an interesting one.


Narutotai Ginjo Nama Genshu

Don’t let the “can” fool you, this namazake (unpasteurized sake) is one of the shop’s best sellers! Your quintessential nama with it’s green, brash flavor and powerful impact. Gorgeously sweet and refreshing fruity aroma.  Very dry sake with great acidity.


Narutotai Junmai Daiginjo
Junmai Daiginjo

It’s been a while since we’ve had this in the shop so we’re looking forward to revisiting this once again. Narutotai’s Daiginjo begins with rich fruity aromas of muscat, pear and rice. Fruity flavors are nicely balanced with savory flavors. This sake is very viscous and powerful with great depth.

So please join us this Saturday for our ONE-TWO COMBINATION PUNCH SAKE TASTING. Try some great seasonal sake and meet Mr. Sakamoto of Honke Matsuura Sake Brewery. Should be a blast!

Malcolm & Nadine Leong
The Sake Shop



Saturday, November 23, 2013
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Fall Leaves

What is Hiyaoroshi?
What is Hiyaoroshi sake?  As a standard practice, sake is normally pasteurized twice, once after pressing and once more before bottling. Hiyaoroshi refers to sake that has been pasteurized only ONCE after pressing and is released in the Fall.

In the old days sake was always left to sit undisturbed during the Summer after pressing.  This was because the heat of Summer could cause unwanted bacteria and other nasties to wreck havoc on the sake.

When Autumn would finally roll around, the temperature would be cool enough for the brewer to ship their sake without having to pasteurize it a second time.

Sake that was single pasteurized and released during the Fall in this manner became known as Hiyaoroshi. Sake that is single pasteurized but not necessarily released in the Fall is known as “Nama Zume”.

Matsutake Mushrooms

Matsutake Mushrooms
(Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia)
The resulting sake is a little less mature than regular sake with it’s own unique flavor.  While not as brash or zingy as totally unpasteurized sake (namazake), Hiyaoroshi still captures some of that fresh lively flavor.

As with most things Japanese, seasonal sake goes well with the typical foods of the season. Hiyaoroshi goes well with Autumn foods such as Matsutake mushrooms or fish that are at their peak fattiness during the Fall.

Honke Matsuura Brewery

Honke Matsuura Brewery
Three of the sake we’ll be sampling this Saturday are Narutotai sake, brewed by Honke Matsuura Brewery. Founded over 200 years ago in 1804, the brewery is located in Naruto City in Tokushima prefecture.

Narutotai sake was named by the local governor in 1884 and is a combination of the words “Naruto” and “Tai”. He wanted the brewery to produce sake with the flavor as exquisitely elegant as the taste of the “Tai” or Sea Bream fish which are caught in the whirlpool filled waters around Naruto City.

Narutotai Video Link

Video of Narutotai Brewery
Proud of a history stretching back more than 200 years, Takaaki Yamamoto, the current Toji or Master Brewer, remains devoted to traditional techniques. Temperature control and the rice used remain as close as possible to the methods of past centuries.

At the same time however, the brewery is not afraid of new technology and has its own proprietary method of brewing, where the sake is temporarily evaporated into a mist, producing high alcohol sake (around 25%) with a dry flavor.
Otokoyama Nonstop Honolulu

Melissa Chang and Laurie Oue
Another sake we’ll be sampling is a Hiyaoroshi from Otokoyama. Two of our friends visited Hokkaido last year and made a planned stop at Otokoyama Sake Brewery. Melissa Chang, freelance writer and social media goddess along with Laurie Oue, friend, foodie and sake lover.

We were able to set them up with a personal tour of Otokoyama Sake Brewery which was conducted by the President himself, Mr. Yokichi Yamazaki.

Our two friends learned quite a bit about sake and had a wonderful time. Besides the ten million other things that she does, Melissa also writes a food blog for Nonstop Honolulu and ended up posting a terrific story about their experience including a short video and a bunch of pictures.

Click here to see Melissa’s blog posting about their visit to Otokoyama.

The Sake Shop
1461 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Ph (808) 947-7253
Fax (808) 947-7254
Twitter @sakeshop
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Map: maps.google.com/maps

Metered parking available on King Street, Kaheka Street & Liona Street.  Pay lot located behind our building. $2 for 1/2 hour Monday – Friday until 6pm and Saturdays until 2pm.  All other hours $2 for 5 hours (paybox).  Enter from Liona Street.  Unfortunately we are unable to validate parking.

Hours of Operation  

10am to 8pm Mon – Sat
10am to 5pm Sun