Yamato Magazine was created to help promote Japanese related brands and one of the most rewarding aspects of running the magazine has been to raise awareness of different sake breweries and suppliers, such as Ueno Gourmet, a premium sake supplier based in Germany.
They were kind enough to send a bottle of Toko Junmai sake to try in exchange for an honest review. Crafted by the venerable Toko brewery, this sake is sure to appeal to sake purists who value high-quality nihonshu that doesn’t have any brewer’s alcohol in it.
Why did I choose the bottle?
The Toko Junmai was delivered quickly by Ueno Gourmet and I was eager to sip it and see how it compared to other types of sake that I’ve tried. The fact that it’s crafted by a brewery that has been around for centuries is a great selling point as well. Toko was set up in 1597 during the Azuchi -Momoyama period and has connections to the famed Uesugi family, a samurai clan who have been active since the Muromachi period.
On first inspection, the sake has a floral aroma that I’ve come to associate with the ginjo and daiginjo grades. So, I was pleasantly surprised when the Toko Junmai tasted more like a honjozo, with dominant savoury and dry qualities.
A subtle sweetness permeates the sake, a delightful contradiction. The mouthfeel is well-balanced, conjuring notes of chestnut, orange, lemon and rice. While smooth on the palate, the Toko Junmai leaves behind a fiery aftertaste reminiscent of whisky.
A deceptively complex sake, the Toko Junmai is an excellent drink for sake novices and aficionados alike. The umami texture goes on for days and you can enjoy it cold and warm.
Seimaibuai/Rich Polishing Rate: 60%