Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake

Figure 1. Ozeki Nama Chozou

Introduction

Japan, home of cherry blossom, sumo, bizarre animation characters and raw fish, has also perfected the production of rice wine, or sake.  The production of sake dates back at least 1500 years in its modern form and possibly a further 2000 years before that as kuchikami no sake (“mouth-chewed sake”) (Wikipedia, 2010) and it is often used in spiritual rituals (eHow, 2010).  The production of sake is distinct from that of wine or beer in that a mold is utilised to break down the starch into fermentable sugars (Wikipedia, 2010).  Sake is basically categorised by the amount that the rice is polished before fermenting (sake-world, 2010).  The polishing process removes proteins and oils from the outside of the grain leaving fewer impurities (Wikipedia, 2010).

Ozeki have been producing sake since 1711 and has come a long way to their current “24-hour unmanned operation of any process is fully automated, streamlined with a lot of manpower and time significantly” (Ozeki, 2010).  Ozeki products can be seen in convenience stores throughout Japan, including the ubiquitous, but ever so handy ワンカップ (Wankappu or One Cup) which is a convenient cup of sake without the inconvenience of a bottle shaped vessel (Ozeki One Cup, 2010).  Two Ozeki products available in New Zealand are Nama Chozou (13.5% alc. vol.) and Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake (13% alc. vol.).

Aim

This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake including, but not limited to, aroma, flavor, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.

Method

300 ml bottles of Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Samurai Sake were obtained from a specialist Japanese liquor store for NZ$9.80 and NZ$10.20 respectively.  The bottles were refrigerated to 4oC before the caps of the bottles were removed under controlled conditions.  Approximately 20 ml of each sample were decanted into sake cups.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the sake.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the beer and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  Colour was assessed by looking at the liquor and aesthetic aspects of the vessels were considered.

Results

Results for Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Samurai Sake are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1.  Characteristics of Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Samurai Sake.

Characteristic Nama Chozou-shu Junmai Tatewaki – Samurai Sake
Aroma Sweet, creamy scent with an insinuation of rhubarb, calling to mind memories of rhubarb and custard flavoured boiled sweets which have been delicately rubbed with Cheshire cheese Fainter bouquet of yoghurt which has been liberally sprinkled with vanilla-infused crumble topping
Flavour A complex mash-up of fresh figs, marzipan, fresh almonds, custard apple (cherimoya) and raisins Offers freshly cut persimmons, sunflower seeds and green melons draped over cold rice pudding
Colour Clear, colourless liquor Clear, colourless liquor
Satisfaction An easy-drinking, smooth beverage which could easily accompany light meals A drier sake which would compliment heavier meals but would also be at home alongside sushi, sashimi or salad
Vessel Design A frosted-look label with loads of kanji characters adorns a plain, colourless bottle (see figure 1) A deep blue label with white and gold kanji characters and a black and white image of a samurai warrior (see figure 2)
Drinkability 6.5 6

 

Figure 2. Ozeki Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake

Conclusion

Sake is a poorly understood beverage in the western world, and it can present flavour profiles as complex as wine.  Hangovers are often reported by inexperienced sake drinkers, however with alcohol levels similar to wine and being served in small cups, these reports may be based on myth, however, it is beyond the scope of the current study to corroborate these claims.

During the sampling of the beverages, no far-eastern experiences were noted by either the researcher or the research assistant.  No Zen moments were detected, no flashbacks to riding the shinkansen (bullet train) were noted and no windswept moments on Mount Fuji while purchasing a hot can of coffee from a vending machine were perceived.  However, both of the beverages did make a nice accompaniment to soba noodle soup.

It may or may not be true that “20 years after becoming drunk. Delicious drink is an appropriate amount”, and the researchers suspect this may contain a hidden code, which is yet to be cracked (Ozeki, 2010).

References

http://www.ehow.com/how_2170630_make-sake.html

http://www.ozeki.co.jp/about/mill/index.html

http://www.ozeki.co.jp/product/seishu/onecup.html

http://www.sake-world.com/html/types-of-sake.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sake

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