Sake that is naturally slow cooled and aged through a series of labor intensive techniques could only produce something like the sake mentioned above. When you hear terms like nama-zume, hiyaoroshi, and honjozo thrown around amongst sake aficionados, and you don’t know what they mean, then you know the sake is going to be well worth a sip. All the words for some reason sound like something good is about to be enjoyed. Although it helps to understand the labels on the battle, it is not essential. You do not have to be a sake guru to love and appreciate Japanese sake.
Honjozo is a term used to denote a premium grade of sake that has very limited amounts of alcohol added and is stored without pasteurization. Nama-zume is heated once before it is stored whereas regular sake is heated twice during the whole sake production process. More emphasis is placed on the natural development of the final product than the overly pasteurized filtration of sake. It’s not like the average drinker is going to remember all of those terms, nor care. What’s important is that you have a very general idea of what it is you are drinking. For example, is it a premium grade sake, or a regular table sake? When was it made and what kind of rice was used? What percentage of the rice is milled away? This information helps the drinker get a general understanding of the sake first before drinking it.
Words like Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, and Junmai, all sound like they were made with labour intensive techniques. We are not required to understand the finer details of how it was made unless we are working in the industry. How these terms translates into taste is simply wonderful because we do not know what we are going to get on the nose and the palate. Think, full body, semi-dry, floral, and clean going down you, deep into your bosom. How about warmed sake, what kind of flavor profiles can we get with that? These questions and answers all depend on the drinker, and this is one of the beautiful aspects of imbibing on sake. Rice never had it so good until it married a koji spore that gave birth to moromi, a fermented mash. Taste it, it is the liquid essence of what’s to come.