Since discovering the versatility of sake, I’ve been on a mission to broaden my knowledge of nihonshu and try as many different blends as possible. And this crusade has inspired me to collaborate with sake breweries and suppliers. That’s why I’m pleased to announce Yamato Magazine’s first nihonshu collaboration with Ueno Gourmet, a premium sake supplier based in Germany.
In exchange for an honest review, Ueno Gourmet kindly sent over a bottle of Katsuyama Ken Junmai Ginjo to try.
Why did I choose the bottle?
Katsuyama Ken was selected by Ueno Gourmet and their choice was spot on. The elegant bottle features a tasteful engraving on the front. Created by the Katsuyama brewery in Miyagi, this type of sake comes from a place that values tradition. Established in 1688, the Katsuyama brewery was set up to serve the feudal lords of the Sendai Domain, which was founded by the famous samurai and general, Date Masamune.
For over four hundred years, the brewery has carried on the tradition of producing lord-worthy sake for people all over the world. Falling into the junmai ginjo grade, the Katsuyama Ken can be considered a premium sake and drinking it made me picture what it would be like to knock some booze back with the samurai lords of old.
A clean, fruity aroma emanates from the bottle. The fruitiness carried on in the first sip and was soon joined by a dry sensation that gathers on the palate. The Katsuyama Ken possesses a rich flavour that unfurls into a bouquet of sweetness. Interestingly, the drink also has a woody undercurrent that is similar to a fine Japanese whisky.
The mixture of flavours makes this sake suitable for a range of meals. I paired it with a spicy jackfruit and paneer curry, but I could see it working with fish and meat dishes as well. I’d recommend drinking it chilled to truly appreciate the dry and rich elements.
In summary, the Katsuyama Ken is a delightful, all-rounder kind of sake. By the time you’ve drank the whole bottle you’ll be feeling like a lord yourself.
Grade: Junmai Ginjo
Seimaibuai/Rich Polishing Rate: 50%
Rice: Yamada Nishiki