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Sake Review: Hiyaoroshi in season!

Nov. 23. 2021
by Namazake Paul

Hiyaoroshi are single pasteurized (Namazume) right after brewing then aged until they are perfect and also, it’s cool enough to ship them. That age softens the edges, bringing out fall flavors of caramel, nougat and root vegetables. Perfect for fall foods and everyone from novice to geek. I poured these for local clients last weekend and they loved every one of them. 

Before I get into the notes, I have a very exciting Sake Advent Calendar in the works. Pre-order yours now as I only have 57 left. 

Koshinohomare “Yukinonaka Nite Nekaseta Osake" Junmai Hiyaoroshi

This was actually aged in a snow cave after the single pasteurization, now released at peak maturity. Pours clear. The nose shows sweet steamed mochi rice. The palate is equally soft and pleasing. It has a bit of roundness but is not rich or sweet. The finish has just a little bit of astringency which provides a nice backdrop to the softness of the rest of the experience. Salty foods open up a bit of richness showing some cocoa powder. 

Wakatake “Oniotome Sachi” Tokubetsu Junmai Hiyaoroshi

One of the things I learned when chatting with the brewery is this is exactly the same sake and as their spring release Oniotome Yume.  So whereas that one is the demon’s daughter, this is the demon’s bride. The only difference being it was aged at room temperature until they felt like it had reached maturity then they brought the temperature down to freezing to halt the aging process until release. They taste it every week to determine when it is at peak. 

Pours clear. There’s a fascinating and invigorating nose. I just love the attack. The Kaffir lime leaf is not messing around — a Gimlet’s aspiration. Finish is long and dry. So good!

Shichida “Aiyama 75” Hiyaoroshi

Pours clear. There’s sumtum on the nose… can’t quite place it…. Thai Green Papaya Salad! The palate is quite rich, which makes sense given the low polish level of 75% on the geeky Aiyama rice grown in Hyogo. There’s a fair bit of fruit on the palate: mango, more papaya, definitely not Ginjo flavors. Salty foods will actually increase the perceived sweetness. The finish is rustic. What a fun ride! 

Tsukasabotan “Senchu Hassaku” Junmai Genshu Hiyaoroshi

Robust Junmai style nose of nectarine, cream cheese and nougatine. Blind I might think this is a Kimoto. The palate is quite rich, showing it’s clearly from Kochi. The finish is surprisingly clean and pretty for such robust prior moments. 

Harushika Junmai Ginjo Hiyaoroshi

Pours clear. Oh boy is this a big ginjo style nose. Lots of really classic honeydew melon. The palate is exactly as promised plus honey and the finish is pretty with lingering ginjo flavors. I’m supposed to be tasting this, writing intelligent notes for you and I’m just guzzling it. Oops. 

Kisoji Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi

This is a brand new producer to the US. I’m really happy to share it with you. Pours with a tinge of yellow as many Yamahai do. The nose shows nutmeg heavy, brown butter banana bread and calf leather. The palate is very sweet at first which is a bit startling then it takes a quick turn towards savory. The finish evolves for days into porcini mushroom risotto and other things I want to eat on a cold fall day. This is incredibly versatile for pairings. 

So grab your Hiyaoroshi now!