Asahi Shuzo is a brewery that cherishes sake crafting. Just like wine, the world of ginjo sake is often described as something too difficult to understand unless you are a connoisseur. That is not the case, however. Special knowledge is not necessary to understand what a truly great sake is, and Dassai makes sake for everyone to enjoy.
The name of the brand, DASSAI, means "otter festival," and the origins convey much of what the sake is about. This is a word that was used long ago in Yamaguchi Prefecture, as there were many otters frolicking in the nearby rivers. Otters would lay out on the shore fishes they caught, almost as if they are showing them off – like one would do during in a festival.
Sake is made from rice, water and koji. Rice especially is one of the most important things for making sake. All of Dassai's efforts are aimed towards providing the customers with a sense of satisfaction, which is worthy of polishing the rice of the utmost quality.
The Story Behind Dassai 23
Dassai 23, often featured on TV and many publications for what is maybe Japan’s most extravagant rice polishing ratio, has brought all sorts of challenges for the brewery.
It was first planned to be a Junmai Daiginjo sake with a rice polishing ratio of 25%. The company president, Hiroshi Sakurai, waited for the rice to begin the polishing process, before going on a business trip. This is when he was told that a major producer from Nada was already selling a Junmai Daiginjo sake polished down to 24%. After having a sleepless night thinking about it, the president asked the staff to polish the rice 2% more, down to 23%. At the time, 6 days and 6 nights had passed since the polishing process started. Although exhausted, the brewery workers reluctantly did polished 2% more, which required an additional 24 hours. This seven days and nights work period, the overall 168 hours required for polishing the rice is still unchanged as of today.
The nose of Dassai 23 presents an irresistibly elegant flowery bouquet with a soft, delicate, honey-like sweetness, and the flavor blooms exquisitely in your mouth. The long finish is a gentle waterfall of flavor that hits the center of your palate and dissipates into bliss-like mists, begging for another sip.