Near the Kikuchi River in the city of Yamaga lies a historic warehouse that once belonged to the Honda family (no relation to the eponymous carmaker). Former rice wholesalers, the family ventured into sake brewing in 1896. Today, that warehouse with its iconic towering chimney is the Chiyonosono Sake Brewery. Members of the family still work there and are bringing fresh perspectives to sake.
One such initiative is its collaboration with Singaporean artist Adeline Yeo-Matsuzaki. Currently based in Japan, Yeo-Matsuzaki worked with the brewery on a collection of five craft sake featuring her finger painting art.
MIKADO Premium Daiginjo 35
Mikado, which means “emperor”, is made from Yamada-Nishiki rice that has been polished to 35 percent. The rice in other daiginjo sake is typically polished between 45 and 50 percent. After this, the sake is drip-pressed using shizuku shibori, an elaborate and time-consuming method of natural extraction without the use of tools or machinery.
Mikado has a mellow, fruity aroma and an elegant clarity. The fresh sharpness blends with the dry yet full, rich flavour. To celebrate the sensory feast of this premium daiginjo, which retails for $112, Yeo-Matsuzaki chose her art piece Majestic Splendor.
SHUHAI Junmaishu | ŌYŌ Ginjo | TENPIN Junmai Ginjo
Inspired by love, the artist crafted a poem and chose three paintings with similar themes — A Love Song, An Original Composition, and Time And Space — to complement these sake.
The Shuhai is a junmai-shu that pays homage to the brewery’s revival of junmai in 1968, which is a method of brewing sake from rice without adding alcohol. It retails for $54.
ŌYŌ means an eagle’s graceful glide and is brewed from Shinriki rice, said to be the original rice used to make sake. This ginjo has a deep, well-balanced taste and a mellow mouth-feel. It retails for $67. Tenpin, which means innate talent, is fermented slowly at low temperatures before being hand-pressed in traditional sake cloth bags. A dry and refreshing sake, it retails for $66, and is best served chilled.
Yeo-Matsuzaki chose her Richness Abounding piece to accompany this brisk and rich final sake. Enman represents the flourishing passion both the brewery and artist share in pursuing creativity in their respective fields. It retails for $43.
The Chiyonosono Art Labels Sake Collection by Adeline Yeo-Matsuzaki is available in Singapore at theliquormerchants.sg and selected restaurants and retailers.