In the sake world, daiginjo is a phrase that’s associated with high-quality craftsmanship. The same can be said for sake across all categories, yet daiginjo is often positioned at the top because of the high rice polishing rate that goes into its production. In the case of Bekkaku daiginjo, the association with exceptional sake is spot on.
Elegant, smooth and enchanting, the Bekkaku daiginjo is nihonshu fit for royalty.
Why did I choose the bottle?
I was introduced to this sake through attending a trade tasting event at The Sparrows in Manchester. Run by sake expert Kasia Hitchcock, The Sparrows blends European and Japanese dining together for a truly memorable experience. Kasia’s knowledge of the sake industry is incredible and it was a pleasure to learn about and try Bekkaku straight from the bottle.
Bekakku is produced by Hinomaru Jozo based in Masudamachi in Yokote City in Akita Prefecture. The brewery has a rich history that dates back to 1689 and carries the blessing of the ancient Japanese warlords of the feudal era. The Satake clan gave the brewery the right to use the name hinomaru, the witch hazel flower that sprouts through snow and signals the coming of Spring.
The Satake clan also bestowed their famous Japanese folding fan symbol that opens to show the bright red sun. This proved to be an auspicious blessing, as the rising sun image was adopted as the official symbol for Japan’s national flag in 1870.
Bekakku is the embodiment of Hinomaru’s dedication to excellence. The sake is produced from Yamadanishiki rice, yeast, koji and water sourced from the subterranean wells of the Kurikoma Mountain range. The rice is polished to an extremely fine 38% and the sake is matured for two years in the bottle at low temperatures.
Another fun fact is that Bekakku has the distinction of being the only sake served at Emperor Naruhito’s reception on May 1st 2019 to commemorate the Reiwa era.
The Bekakku has all the qualities of what makes daiginjo so good to drink. Aromatic, light, floral and sessionable. Drilling down into the flavour profile, the first thing I noted was a fresh lemon scent in the glass that expanded into plum and banana notes.
A pleasant, spicy undercurrent moved through the mouth. Pepper and oregano balanced with sweeter flavours of cream and peach. There was an unexpected dryness in the aftertaste that acted as a palate cleanser.
I’d recommend drinking the Bekakku chilled and can see it pairing well with a platter of cheese and bruschetta. The gentle acidity makes for an awesome tag team with the savoury qualities of the cheese and meat.
Seimaibuai/Rice Polishing Rate: 38%
Pick up a bottle and let me know what your thoughts on the Bekakku Daiginjo are!