I recently had the opportunity to try three different variations of Kamikokoro sake, made using peach yeast as part of a Sake Lovers virtual brewery tour and tasting. Even though I pride myself in tasting a variety of different sake, the Kamikokoro sake was so different compared to other sake I have tried. I was delighted to learn about their unique brewing process, as well as the use of their peach yeast to create a delicious brew that both sake geeks and sake beginners will love.
Kamikokoroshuzo was founded in October 1913 by Chojuro Fujii in Okayama, Japan and being a little over 100 years old, they are a relatively young brewery in Japan. Currently, Kamikokoroshuzo is overseen by their fifth-generation brewmaster Nobuhiko Fujii and has 19 employees in three locations. The Yoroshima sake brewery research institute has been in operation for 100 years and is used for exhibitions, the air conditioned facility where they make the sake has been in operation for 50 years, as well as a raw material processing facility that has been around for 27 years.
Their motto is: “We are manufacturers in making sake, but consumers in our lives, so we don’t make things that we don’t want our families to eat.” They are committed to ensuring the quality of their sake until it reaches our mouths – a true sign of dedication to their customer’s satisfaction. They do this by ensuring that best practices are followed for transporting and storing the sake before it is consumed, so that the integrity of the sake is not compromised.
They also have an adorable mascot named Umami Komeno, who was created by a 17 year old girl during a competition they held to find the perfect mascot for their brand. She’s really cute so be sure to keep an eye out for her if you visit the Okayama area!
About the Kamikokoro Shuzo Brewing Process
The sake is made by 8 craftsmen, who operate with the motto “learn together and grow together!”
Kamikokoro Shuzo uses local rice from Okayama Prefecture that has been carefully soaked in units of 60 kilograms for several seconds to ensure that it absorbs just the right amount of water.
Through this process, the wonderfully aromatic koji (a fungus used in sake brewing) rice is created.
Using the latest cooling equipment, the temperature inside their brewery is maintained at around 5°C during brewing. They also ensure that the air that is used during the sake making process is purified, which is something unique that they have actually won awards for.
What makes their sake really special is their use of Okayama white peach yeast. When they were creating their kobo yeast, the 4th generation brewer wanted to develop it using something that was famous in Okayama. Okayama is famous for both grapes and white peaches, however with grapes already being used to make wine, they decided to create a unique yeast using the skin of their famous white peaches. Today they use only the finest white peaches in Okayama!
The sake Kamikokoro Shuzo produces can be described as relatively sweet and easy to drink. They have a variety of different options to choose from, depending on your personal preferences – so read below to find out what I thought of the three I was lucky enough to try!
Kamikokoro Shuzo Sake Review
As I mentioned, I had the opportunity to try three different variations of Kamikokoro sake, all of which had their own unique characteristics that I enjoyed!
1. Kamikokoro Toukagen Tokubetsu Junmai Genshu Shiboritate Nama
Alc: 16.5% SMV: -8 Acidity: 1.5 Amino
Rice: Akihikari (Okayama), polished to 58%
Yeast: Okayama White Peach yeast
This sake is a genshu, which means it is a pure undiluted sake with a rich, bold taste. Genshu tends to be one of my personal favorites, and the genshu produced by Kamikokorosake is one of the best in my opinion. The Kamikokoro Toukagen Tokubetsu Junmai Genshu Shiboritate Nama has been a popular sake in Japan for around 10 years, however it also became popular in New York and Los Angeles around 5 years ago when they began shipping there. I wasn’t surprised to hear that it was a well liked sake enjoyed by international sake drinkers, because even with the bold flavour it is still very smooth to drink. And if you like a little punch to your drink, you’ll enjoy the high alcohol content at 16.5%.
This sake is made using the Okayama White Peach yeast, which gives it a unique fruity aroma and subtly sweet flavor. Because of its sweetness, I enjoyed pairing this sake with meat, such as salty prosciutto or salami, or salty chips. I believe it would also pair well with different kinds of cheese, like mozzarella or blue cheese.
2.Kamikokoro Shuwa Shuwa sparkling sake
Alc:5.5% SMV-50 Acid:3.6
Rice: Akebono, polished to 70%
Yeast: Okayama white peach yeast
Anyone who enjoys sparkling champagne will love this sparkling sake! Again, this sake is made with the okayama white peach yeast and follows a very similar brewing process to a champagne. Secondary fermentation happens inside the bottle using the white peach yeast, so that sparkle that you taste is actually a natural gas! This sparkling sake received a Gold award in 2019 in a wine competition in the sparkling category. If you’re in the mood to celebrate, I highly recommend skipping the champagne and instead picking up a bottle of the Kamikokoro Shuwa Shuwa sparkling sake to try something a little different!
As for food pairings, I enjoy a sparkling sake with fried foods, such as fried chicken, or really anything that you would have as a dinner, like steak, potatoes or oysters. Something with a subtle flavor will really bring out the sweet mouth tingling punch of the sparkling sake.
3.Kamikokoro Momo White Peach Infused
Alc: 500ml, Alc: 8%
25% White Peach juice
The Kamikokoro Momo White Peach Infused is a dessert sake – meaning you could either drink it with your dessert, or you could drink the sake itself as a dessert. If you love peach flavour, you will absolutely love this subtly sweet sake. It tastes as if you’re biting into a fresh white peach, with just a hint of plum. It has a very low acidity and even though it is cloudy in the glass, it is very smooth to drink. Because it is a low alcohol, you’ll have no issue drinking it if you aren’t typically a fan of alcohol. I enjoyed mine over ice and it was very refreshing – but I could also see this being delicious in a cocktail!
This peach infused sake is very loved internationally – even those who are not familiar with sake or who may be brand new to sake, will thoroughly enjoy this drink. In fact, the majority of this sake is bought internationally compared to sales in Japan.