19 February 2014

Ty Ku Junmai Saké

My co-workers are already getting sick of me talking about the North Carolina Nomacorc trip, but as we're having great conversations about Lean Six Sigma and efficient manufacturing processes, I'm taking the moral high ground. During all of the talk about synthetic corks and how they can regulate the oxygen transfer rates for specific wines, I was taking notes about the mobile 5S cart and kanban systems. Peeking at something and thinking, "Hey, that's a great example of Poka-Yoke!"

I'll have a lot more on the factory side later, but I really enjoyed getting to spend time in the downtown, artsy, some might say, hipster district of downtown Raleigh. We were so lucky to have lots of great restaurants within walking distance and being treated to lavish meals by our outstanding company representatives Katie and Whitney. After a massive Mexican feast on Thursday, the day we all got snowed in, it was decided that a lighter dinner was in order, so... Sushi O! But we enjoyed an even more spectacular spread that covered multiple wines, decadent platters of sushi, sashimi, nigiri, and I was able to indulge myself in all the eel and octopus I wanted.

Katie ordered a favorite saké... I have another online tasting from SakéOne coming up, and as a fairly recent convert to the beverage I will give the following advice: saké is best when enjoyed on its own without the influence of other drinks. Even the lightest Alsatian white will have stronger aromas and flavors than saké, and most cocktails are too strong. Try three or four of them on a clean palate and you'll be able to recognize the gentle characteristics. I've often said that if you really want to appreciate saké then you need to have strong opinions on different tea blends. No Darjeeling or Oolong is going to hit you as hard as a Cabernet Franc, but the subtle aroma differences are great training for the nose.

Ty Ku Junmai Saké
Nara, Japan
$19, 15% abv.

This is quite a bargain at the retail price point, and delivers light floral and lychee notes. A touch of citrus on the palate and a smooth mouthfeel mean that this would be a great introductory junmai saké for anyone that is new to the genre. I sampled it at room temperature and found the shape of the bottle to be quite fascinating.

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