This sake is drip-pressed (shizuku) — a rarity in and of itself — and it is also the only sake in the world drip-pressed in an ice igloo! The igloo is rebuilt every year outside the main brewery building in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island.
The inside of this igloo remains at a constant temperature of 28° F, with 90% humidity and no wind. The low temperature means bacteria cannot survive, and this allows them to brew clean and pure, ultra-premium sake. Additionally, they separate the clear sake from the fermenting rice lees not by pressing, but rather by putting it into canvas bags and allowing the sake to drip out slowly overnight, with no pressure at all applied to the mash.
Brewery Name: Takasago Shuzo
Brewery Founded: 1899
Brewery Location: Hokkaido Prefecture
Toji (master brewer): Tokujiro Sasaki
Brewery President: Shun Kohiyama
Quality Grade: Junmai Daiginjo
Seimaibuai: 50% (50% of rice grain polished away)
Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Tasting Notes/Food Pairing: Spice, minerality, and banana skin dominate the aroma profile of this shizuku- pressed sake. Medium-bodied with a clean impact, the flavors run the gamut of a well-crafted Junmai-Daiginjo- melons, herbs, vanilla essence and concentrated mineral flavors that keep the sake focused well into its long, ethereal finish.
94 Points, Stephen Tanzer "Very pale yellow. Complex nose offers saline, herbal and spicy notes, with a minty coolness. Wonderfully subtle, complex and precise, with a distinctly ethereal quality, high-pitched minerality and superb lift. Finishes very dry and persistent, with lovely lift. This is made inside an igloo in Hokkaido, in Japan's extreme north, where below-freezing temperature prevents unwanted bacteria from surviving, thus ensuring a very pure sake. The clear sake is separated from the fermenting rice lees by putting it into canvas bags and allowing the sake to drip out overnight (as opposed to pressing it)."