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Sake Reviews

Tsuchida 12 | 土田(つちだ)12


We're back with sixth-generation Gunma Prefecture Sake brewery Tsuchida! Today we're going to try the Tsuchida 12, which is meant to be a low ABV session Sake, so named after its 12% ABV.   

This Tsuchida 12 is made from Asahi no Yume rice that's specially grown in the Gunma Prefecture, polished to 90% rice polishing ratio (ie. leaving 90% of the rice grain on! In a world obsessed with ultra high rice polishing ratios, this is definitely eye catching!), white koji, as well as Brewing Association Yeast #601. It's almost made in the traditional Kimoto style where the yeast starter is made from scratch through laborious manual pounding.


Tsuchida's brewing team is mostly in their 20's and 30's!


What I love most about Tsuchida is that despite it being founded in 1907, it's actually largely run by young folks, mostly in their 30's, and so they bring lots of new ideas to an otherwise very traditional Sake scene, which also means we get to try more unique and daredevil expressions from Tsuchida. And what's even more interesting is that these unique and daredevil expressions are actually very much ancestral Sakes that are no longer made today! Tsuchida brewery had the goal of reviving incredibly traditional Sake styles that are not much seen today. So young folks making ancestral Sake - we're good!




One aspect that's a pretty consistent thread in Tsuchida's Sake making is their belief that in the ancestral period, Sake brewers did not at all focus on ultra high rice polishing ratios (high rice polishing ratio means a  very small percentage of the rice grain is left for Sake-making) that we see today, that's become the way of the Sake industry. If someone has it at 23%, you better have it at 22%, and so forth. Yet with less precise mechanical tools in the past, this was certainly not possibly - and Tsuchida believes that even back then, Sakes were very tasty, and so this endless chase to achieve high rice polishing ratios is not the purest form of Sake making.

Hence the whole idea with Tsuchida is to focus on the craft of Sake-making, rather than the the ingredient itself. We've tasted some of Tsuchida's work and have been thoroughly impressed and we're convinced that they know what they're doing. Managed to try this at Singapore's Sake Matsuri Festival where The Sake Company had this out!

So let's get to it!

Tsuchida 12 | 土田(つちだ)12 - Review

Tasting Notes

Color: White Wine

Aroma: Light teriyaki sauce that's rather rich and umami, with a gentle bit of acidity and lactic quality. This is layered over a base of honey, which wins out over time and dominates but remains rather gentle and soft.

Taste: Superb richness. There's honey jelly, aiyu jelly, grape jelly - it's alot fuller than expected from its aromas. It's stuffed with lots of lovely and sweeter, fruity and honeyed jellies! Entirely rich, honeyed and grape-y. It's got depth and vibrance but remains rather mellow too.

Finish: More grape jelly.


My Thoughts

Every time I try Tsuchida's Sake, they have never once failed to blow my mind. I cannot tell you just how incredibly impressed I am. The selling point here is supposed to be how it's low ABV and easy to drink, but really it should be about how it's managed to still keep it so incredibly honeyed and fruity, stuffed full of delicious jelly. It's got so much flavour, depth and vibrance - it feels like I'm just having a jelly party but that would be not giving this full credit for being so elegant and silky in texture. It almost glimmers on the palate.

God damn this is impressive! Tsuchida you've nailed it again!