Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture has prospered as an important port town for maritime traffic since the Edo period. It was in this town in 1893 that Hisakichi Sato, a shipping wholesaler, learnt the art of sake brewing from Teiichiro Sakai of the Sakai family of the old Shonai clan, and started a sake brewing company with the brand name "Kinkyu". At the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989), when the first son was born in the family, the name of the brand was changed to "Hatsumago" in the hope that the sake would be loved and appreciated by everyone.
The brewery has been brewing sake using the traditional "Kimoto-zukuri" method since its foundation. The traditional method of making sake is to use lactic acid bacteria in the air to prevent the growth of organisms other than sake yeast. It requires skills and experience cultivated over many years and there are only a few sake breweries in Japan that use this method. It is said that the yeast, which is nurtured by cleverly inducing the workings of the natural world, produces a healthy and vigorous fermentation in the unrefined sake, resulting in a strong and robust sake. The result is a sake with a deep taste and a clean finish.
Hatsumago will continue to develop and pass on the rich flavours of sake that are unique to Sakata, a region blessed with water and greenery and with a rich local climate.
Hatsumago Honkarakuchi Junmai Makiri
This is a refreshing, pure dry sake with a deep taste and excellent sharpness, made using a unique fermentation technique. It has the lightness of a highly refined sake, but the taste is strong and has the thickness of taste that only Kimoto can provide. It is more than just a regular dry sake - the strength of the kimoto may be due to the lactic acid, but this does not make it taste stale and keeps it rich.
Another point worth mentioning is that it is an interesting sake that changes its expression with temperature. At room temperature or slightly cooler, it's a dry sake that cuts through quickly, but when it's lukewarmed, the sake seems to curl up in the mouth and becomes more flavourful. It is a very versatile sake that can be served cold or lukewarm.
This junmai is named "Makiri", which is a sharp knife used by fishermen in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture. It is believed to be a good luck charm to ward off evil. It is a dry sake with a sharp crisp taste, which is why this dry Junmai sake was given the name "Makiri".