Sake is one of the most fascinating aspects of Japanese culture. Whether it’s getting involved in a debate between the merits of junmai vs non-junmai sake, or learning about different brewing styles, nothing is ever as it seems in the sake industry. One topic can lead you down a rabbit hole and bring up a host of new questions and anecdotes.
The best way to learn about sake is to taste it, which is why I’m presenting a review of the Kameizumi brewing company’s junmai ginjo Cel-24 Eternal Spring sake.
Why did I choose the bottle?
As my first junmai ginjo sake, I was excited to see how it compared to the creaminess of a honjozo blend. The Cel-24 name derives from the strain of yeast that was created by brewers in the Kochi Prefecture. The Cel-24 yeast helped to bring out fruity aromas that made the ginjo appealing to the nose.
The brewing of the Eternal Spring junmai ginjo can involve the milling of two different kinds of rice, Hattan Nishiki from Hiroshima and Matsuyama Me from the Ehime Prefecture. This is blended with the ‘Eternal Spring’ water of the Niyodo river, which flows from Mount Hage.
The Eternal Spring sake had a pleasant, fruity scent and this translated well into the overall flavour. I tasted a mixture of pineapple, banana, pear and citrus. This was accompanied by a luscious, biscuity flavour that I’d attribute to the Cel-24 being namazake.
When a sake is namazake, this means it is unpasteurised. The majority of sake is pasteurised through a heating process that stabilises the drink and deactivates the koji mold that is so crucial to the creation of sake. Heat prevents any outside bacteria from becoming a part of the enzymatic activity from the koji. This process creates a sake with creamy, fresh and zippy characteristics that came through in the Cel-24 junmai ginjo.
I also found the Eternal Spring extremely easy to drink. The smoothness of the sake reflects the craftsmanship of the people at the Kameizumi brewery.
Full-bodied, smooth and tasty, the Eternal Spring Cel-24 is a sake that will send you deeper into the rabbit hole and inspire you to try other kinds of junmai ginjo variations.
- ABV: 14%
- Category: Junmai Ginjo
- Style: Namazake/Unpasturised
- Seimaibuai/Rice Polishing Rate: 50%
- Rice: Hattan Nishiki and Matsuyama Me
- Yeast: CEL-24