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Thursday, April 18, 2019 Saké Box #1

Tippsy is basically a wine club for Saké. You can shop around on their site and buy the Saké that you want or you can subscribe to the Saké Box, which is delivered to your door every month with three different Saké. And you, my fellow Wine Stalkers, can use promocode SAKECLUB to get $10 off your first order. So if you like your Saké then go check it out!

To learn more about the history of Saké, read my latest article called Just Brew It, Part One: A brief history of Sake. Because of time, I couldn't make just one big Saké article so the real detailed stuff on how Saké is made will be in Part 2: Making Saké , which should come out in either May or June.

So here we go! Let's try some Saké! First chilled neat and then on the rocks! Don't forget to check out Tippsy  and use that promocode!

Kurosawa "Nigori" SakeKurosawa "Nigori"
Price: $18.50
Category: Nigori
Region: Nagano, Chubu
Taste Profile: Rich & Sweet
Serving Temperature: Cold
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 8%
Rice Polishing Ratio (RPR): 70%
Recommended Pairing: Fish, Shrimp/Crab, Octopus/Squid

Saké is usually filtered to remove grain solids left behind after the fermentation process. Nigori Saké is filtered using a broader mesh, resulting in the permeating of fine rice particles and a far cloudier drink. -

And cloudy it is, and white, like they took some milk and added some water to it. This one has the loudest nose, and man is it fruity compared to the others. On the palate is round and savory and citrusy. The sweetness makes it go down so so sooooo easy, and the salivating acidity is just asking for another sip or some food. I wouldn't mind drinking this all the time, especially in the heat of the summer. It's a really good Saké for the price.

Hananomai "Junmai Gingo"
Price: $26.00
Category: Gingo
Region: Shizuoka, Chubu
Taste Profile: Light & Dry
Serving Temperature: Cold
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 15%
Rice Polishing Ratio (RPR): 60%
Recommended Pairing: Fish, Shellfish

”Ginjo" is brewed with rice grains that are polished down to 60% or less. By brewing at lower temperatures the well-polished rice can bring out the aroma components which are also found in fruits like bananas and apples. - Tippsy 

This is the more rustic and bitter of the three, and also my favorite when it's served on the rocks. On the nose it's far less fruity than the Kurosawa, although fruit is still there but with cooked apples instead of citrus. It's got a creamy mouthfeel with flavor characteristics of vanilla, popcorn, and lime. On the finish it's soooo creamy with a nice contrasting acidity, but it also has a bitterness and booziness that makes this the harshest of its peers here. 

Hakkaisan "Tokubetsu Junmai"
Price: $33.40
Category: Junmai
Region: Niigata, Hokuriku
Taste Profile: Rich & Dry
Serving Temperature: Cold, Room
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 15.5%
Rice Polishing Ratio (RPR): 60%
Recommended Pairing: Meat, Shrimp/Crab

"Junmai" literally means pure rice. Tippsy categorizes this as rice polishing ratio of 70% or less. But it actually ranges from 70% to 55%. Junmai has rich flavors of rice that holds well at warm temperatures. The bold flavors of Junmai can be appreciated most when it's paired with dishes with strong flavors. - Tippsy 

At first when I got this I thought I had a faulty screw cap because I kept twisting it and the whole thing just spun. I tried to hold down the bottom of cap and twist the top, like you should when this happens with wine, but that didn't do anything. Then after some frustration I noticed a tab that you're supposed to use to peel the whole thing off like sparkling wine foil, and a stopper is underneath it. I am not a smart man.

This one is all about the elegance and intricacies and balance. The overall experience is wonderful. The nose is a little plummy, a little citrusy, a little ricey, and a little boozy. On the palate it's got a creamy mouthfeel with a perfectly balanced acidity that pops up a bit on the finish with the alcohol, but the midpalate is RIDICULOUSLY smooth. There's flavors of almonds, vanilla, and a little piece of grapefruit pith. It really is a joy to drink and savor.

In Conclusion

I tried all three chilled neat and then on the rocks, and my favorite experience out of it all was the Hananomai on the rocks. Don't get me wrong, they are all very good served both ways. I'd love to drink the Kurosawa every day this coming summer because it's so fun but it goes down waaaay too easy for that. And I could go on forever about how wonderfully elegant and sophisticated the Hakkaisan is but because of those things it demands your devoted attention to appreciate it.

I am not what you would call a manly man so don't take this like I'm going for some masculinity thing here, but the Hananomai on the rocks is like you're drinking a drink that puts hair on your chest, as they say. It's the whiskey of the three. It's got big character, you know you're drinking yourself some alcohol, you can nurse it as long as you want because the finish goes on forever, and you also don't have to give it your full attention to appreciate every sip.

With all that said and done, the Tippsy Saké Box looks like it's absolutely worth it to me. These three Sakés total up to $77.90, but the Saké Box (which includes three Sakés) is $59 a month at the most when you pay monthly, and $49 a month at the least when you pay yearly. That's a damn good deal. The packaging and info cards they give you are very well done, and I thoroughly enjoyed all three bottles that I got. Do I need to plug that promocode again?

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