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Sake Review: Furosen Offers Big Shiga Flavor

Feb. 19. 2021
by Jim Rion

Furosen Offers Big Shiga Flavor

Furosen 3-year Aged Yamahai Junmai Genshu

Brewery: Uehara Shuzo, Shiga Prefecture

Rice: Yamadanishiki 6% (starter)/Takanenishiki 94% (main mash)

Mill Rate: 60%

Uehara Shuzo in Shiga Prefecture is a small brewery that does things very traditionally. It is one of the only breweries in Japan that still presses using the old-fashioned lever-style tenbin press, which uses enormous stones suspended from a beam that acts as a lever to press the sake in a wooden fune tub. They also add no yeast or cultures bacteria to their yamahai fermentation, depending solely on the natural organisms living in and around the brewery, and also brew in wooden tanks.

The primary goal of their sake is umami–the deep, rich savoriness that sets sake apart from other fermented drinks. The traditional techniques they use all help contribute to a deep, complex, fully flavored sake, and this particular one is also aged at room temperature in the brewery for three years, adding even more layers of umami.

On opening, this sake offers an initial note of rich, mature sake with notes of almond/sherry, with a hint of yogurt-like acidity.

The flavor is big, full, and mature. It has the mellowness that comes with age, with a rich complexity that has notes of chocolate, prunes, almonds, and a deep mushroom umami. At the same time, it has a robust acidity that keeps the umami from weighing, so the finish is clean and smooth. Even with all of the flavor, it remains drinkable and enjoyable to the end.

I enjoyed this sake at room temperature, chilled to 18℃, and heated to 40℃ and it offered something enjoyable at every temperature. Personally, I enjoyed the way the flavors opened up and seemed to come alive at the higher temperature. The chilled sake seemed to restrain the essential nature of this big, boisterous sake for me. 

It might be a bit too flavorful for most meals, but with a hearty meat dish, or something like stew/curry it might have a good match.