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Sake review: Miyoshikiku’s one-cups

Jun. 20. 2022
by Giulia Maglio

Who said that one-cup sake is bad? Not me, and definitely not Miyoshikiku, that’s for sure. 

I recently got a 5 one-cup set from Miyoshikiku brewery and I was super excited to try them all. This brewery is quite small but is getting more and more popular attracting the attention of Japanese and foreign sake lovers alike. Why? Well, they certainly do things in their own unique way, which makes them stand out. 

Miyoshikiku brewery is located in Tokushima Prefecture, in the Shikoku island, and was founded around 140 years ago. The actual owner and toji is Mamiya san and he’s the 5th generation of the brewery. 

If Miyoshokiku is standing out from the crowd is definitely thanks to Mamiya san, who doesn’t care how sake is supposed to be or taste like, as he marches to the beat of his own drum.

Most of the sake he brews is unpasteurized and the variety of sake he makes is very wide, especially if we consider the limited size of the brewery. One of the things that strikes me the most is that breweries typically strive for consistency in their products so that every year customers know what to expect, and they can purchase the sake they enjoyed the year prior. But with Mamiya san you’ll never know. He might decide to add or take products off the line-up or simply to tweak them, so every year it’s a surprise. 

The same thing might happen with the one-cup set I have in front of me. 

As most of the sake from this brewery, they all have amazing labels, with gorgeous characters that seem coming out of a manga. And of course they all have the brewery signature ワイルドサイドを歩け Take a walk on the wild side written on the label, as Mamiya san is a huge music lover and, of course, a massive Lou Reed fan.

The first sake I’m trying is kokorozasuICHI which has a princess holding a guitar standing next to a white tiger. It’s a muroka nama genshu (unfiltered-unpastaurized-undiluited) junmai made with locally grown yamada nishiki. It has a beautiful yellow-greenish colour, it’s light on the nose and tastes like red apples. It’s acidic but mellow, almost like a cidre (but flat) but without being overly sweet.

The black cat one-cup is definitely looking at me so I have to try it next. Neko to Wakaseyo or Let’s Reconcile/Compromise with Cats is made with yeast from Tokushima and it’s a muroka genshu, made with 50% yamada mishiki and 50% omachi rice.

Usually having the name of the rice on the bottle might give a hint of what flavour profile to expect but, of course, with Mamiya san you’ll never know. This sake has a lovely straw yellow colour, yoghurt like aromas and it’s reminiscent of apple and mango. It might sound weird but it almost taste like if it’s supposed to be nigori but it’ isn’t. This is pure magic, if you ask me.

Daichi no Yume is a very refreshing unpasteurized junmai ginjo. Like most of the brewery’s products, it’s entirely made with local rice and yeast. The flavour is reminiscent of apple and it has a relly good acidity, especially compared to the first one. It’s a very mellow sake and with a medium body that will pair nicely with meat, and even game (which i love)!

The next one has a blue label with a cure fairy eating a flower with butterflies flying around her. It’s a junmai ginjo made with locally grown yamada nishiki and it is slightly cloudy. Mamiya san’s sake is almost never clear but this one is particularly thick. It’s yet another muroka nama genshu and the aroma reminds of a white wine. If I didn’t know this was a sake, I would probably think of a wine as the flavour reminds me of a green wine. This sake really embodies the concept Mamiya san is talking about when he says that he’s brewring sake for people who don’t like sake.

Last but not least, is Miyoshikiku 2022 that has a luscious lady ready to play a guitar on the label. Like the other ones, this is also a muroka nama genshu but it’s made with gohyaku mangoku rice. The dry and crisp flavour makes it totally different from the others and combined with a good umami and light body makes it ideal to enjoy it with grilled fish. 

Each sake is so different, it almost makes it difficult to believe they all come from the same brewery. Mamiya san is definitely an artist before anything else. He puts the same eccentricity he has towards art an music in its sake.That’s why Miyoshikiku is so unique and despite being a small brewery, it has diehard fans who cannot wait to see what he’s going to do next. I’m definitely one of them so I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for next year’s creations as I sip my precious one-cups.