more view ▼
Genpei Junmai shu

Sake Review: Genpei Junmai sake

May. 05. 2021
by Anat Parnass

This Junmai sake is a peculiar one, though not stated on the label as ginjō, the polishing ratio of 60% suggests it has a ginjō characteristic, subtle fruity flavours, and still, since the polishing ratio is too low, this sake expresses its ‘genmai characteristic’ in a vital earthy aromas and flavors, alongside a noticeable floral and spicy flavor profile especially when drunk at room temperature, . It reveals a mildly dry sensation on the tongue, and its relatively high alcohol content (17%) is well noticeable.

The reason for the complexity of its aromatic flavors might be in its rice (sakamai): Genpei is a mixture of two types of rice: Yamada-Nishiki which was used for the kōji making (kōjimai) and was polished down to 55%, and gohyakumangoku used for its steamed rice (kakemai) polished down to 60%. In addition, this sake underwent one pasteurization process only before shipping (namachozō), which means it was stored as an unpasteurized sake.

I tasted this sake in two different drinking temperatures: at  room temperature and chilled.

Here is my impression.

At room temperature:

Aroma: the almost overwhelming alcohol fragrance which strikes you at first, alters after a few seconds. When the sake opens up, a more subtle aroma/fragrance of floral elements, alongside things of nectarine, anise, figs, and soy, as well as barn and toasted cereal and nutmeg appear. Altogether, it  delivers a very earthy sensation.

On the Palate: floral, with a hint of nectarine, nutmeg, barn rice, porridge, off-dry, viscosity high alcohol sensation. It’s medium-plus in its acidity and has a long finish.


GENPEI becomes much more subtle and calm on the palate and in its aromas when served chilled.

When drunk chilled it becomes more aromatic and rounder. With an aromatic profile that reminded me of white flowers and fruity characteristics like green apple with a hint of nutmeg as well as clove.

On the palate: green apple, nectarine, spices, grass and rice flour. Strong alcohol sensation and long finish. It tickles the tongue and leaves a dry sensation.

Depends on the serving temperature this sake can accompany different kinds of foods:

Food pairing when at room temperature:

Pizza, beef stew, fondu, steaks, yakitori, yakiniku, tomato sauce-based pasta, assorted sausages, grilled fish,and  hot chocolate cake.

Drinking vessel: brandy glass, or guinumi/ochoko (ceramics).

Food pairing when chilled

White sashimi, tempura, assorted light cheese, light udon, lemon sauce-based pasta or olive oil/butter sauce-based pasta.

White chocolate desserts, cheesecake and different Wagashi.

If you are interested in buying this sake you can purchase it at

Sake breweries in japan