Higashiyama Shuzo: Preserving Tradition and Crafting Authentic Sake
Located in the renowned Fushimi sake district of southern Kyoto city, Higashiyama Shuzo is a sake brewery known for its commitment to traditional brewing methods and exquisite flavors. Led by master brewer Yasuo Hosaka, a Nanbu Toji with over 40 years of experience, the team at Higashiyama Shuzo strives to create sake that embodies the classical and authentic essence of this beloved Japanese beverage. With four distinct brands—Konteki, Rosanjin, Rikugen, and Rakuden—Higashiyama Shuzo offers a diverse range of sake to suit different palates.
At Higashiyama Shuzo, each brand is carefully crafted to showcase the unique flavor characteristics of the rice variety used. For example, the Konteki brand utilizes specially cultivated Yamadanishiki rice sourced from Tottori prefecture, resulting in a rich and distinctive taste. On the other hand, Rosanjin is made with Iwai rice from Kyoto prefecture, creating a sake with its own distinct profile. By highlighting the inherent qualities of the rice, Higashiyama Shuzo provides an opportunity for enthusiasts to discern and appreciate the subtle differences among their brands.
Notably, the sake produced by Higashiyama Shuzo exhibits a light, bright yellow color due to a gentle filtration process that preserves the original sake flavor. Rather than achieving complete transparency, the brewery prioritizes maintaining the essence of the sake, ensuring that each sip is a true reflection of their craftsmanship.
As is customary for Fushimi breweries, Higashiyama Shuzo benefits from the use of "Fushimizu," the natural spring water abundant in the region. Fushimizu, characterized by its medium hard water composition and a balanced blend of potassium and calcium, plays a vital role in sake production. With water constituting 80% of sake, the quality of Fushimizu serves as an essential ingredient, contributing to the overall taste and character of Higashiyama's sake.
Konteki Junmai Daiginjo: A Celebration of Purity and Subtlety
Konteki, the flagship brand of Higashiyama Shuzo, epitomizes the brewery's dedication to excellence. Crafted using specially cultivated Yamadanishiki rice grown in Tottori prefecture, Konteki offers a taste that is both rich and aromatic. This Junmai Daiginjo sake stands out with its subtle and nuanced flavor profile, setting it apart from other highly aromatic counterparts.
Inspired by the ideals of Zen Buddhism and the concept of "wabi-sabi," which values understated beauty, Konteki embraces a simple yet profound elegance, much like a delicate strand of pearls. From the first sip, it captivates with a bouquet of vibrant floral aromas, leading to a velvety and remarkably smooth finish. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with dishes such as scallops, pork, or other light meats, Konteki is a delightful sake that enhances any dining experience.